China to increase forest coverage to 23.04 pct by 2020: minister

Updated 2016-12-24 15:26:43 Xinhua

China aims to increase its forest coverage to 23.04 percent by 2020 from the current 21.66 percent, agricultural minister Han Changfu said Friday.

Han made the remarks when briefing lawmakers on scientific and technological innovation in the agricultural and forestry sector during a week-long session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which runs from Monday to Sunday.

An increase of 1.38 percentage points in the forest coverage rate would mean a rise of over 1.3 billion cubic meters in the volume of growing stock.

China's forest coverage stood at 20.36 percent, or 195 million hectares, at the end of 2008.

The country saw its forest cover expand by 450 million mu (30 million hectares) during the 12th Five-Year Plan period between 2011 and 2015.

Yet China's forest cover rate is still about 10 percentage points lower than the world's average.

In his report, Han said China will work to promote afforestation and improve the quality of its forests in the five years starting from 2016.

He also noted that sci-tech advances have played an increasingly important role in China's forestry and agricultural development.

Advances in science and technology contributed to 56 and 48 percent of agricultural and forestry production last year, and the figures are expected to rise to 60 and 55 percent respectively by 2020, the minister said.

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