Beijing, Jun 5 (IANS): China, in moves to fight climate change, has increased the total forest area to 195 million hectares from 134 million hectares in 1992 -- a net gain of 60 million hectares or 600,000 sq km within a period of 20 years.
China currently has 61.68 million hectares of man-made forests, the most in the world.
The country aims to expand its total forest area by 40 million hectares from 2005 to 2020, and will convert 1.07 million hectares of farmland into forests during its 12th Five-year Plan period (2011-2015), Xinhua news agency reported.
China has strengthened its fiscal support for increasing forest area, launched a number of ecological projects and implemented a nationwide compulsory tree-planting programme to expand forests since the inking of a treaty at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992, said Yin Hong, vice minister of the State Forestry Administration.
The desertification area is dropping by 1,717 square km annually, compared to an annual expansion of 3,436 square km at the end of the 1990s.
The government will continue to increase investment in the forest sector, and focus its energy on forest cultivation, wetland, wildlife and habitat protection and land desertification control.
Till date, China has invested 325 billion yuan (around $52 billion) in converting cropland to forests.