BEIJING, April 18 (Xinhuanet) -- The forest coverage in the valley of the Yangtze River, China's longest mother river, has reached 30.53 percent, or 54.951 million hectares, which has greatly improved the river water quality.
According to Zhu Lieke, vice director of the State Forestry Administration, more than 3 million hectares of forest have been planted annually during the past several years and the total standing timber volume in the valley has reached 3.168 billion cubic meters, rendering the intensity of land erosion in the area down 42 percent.
He attributed the achievement to a series of national programs in forest building, natural forest and wild lives protection and construction of natural reserves carried out in the valley.
"A multi-layer protective forest system has been erected to integrate various afforestation efforts," he said Sunday at a forum on the forests in the valley.
In the system, which began in 1980s, tree planting in villages and townships, along roadsides and inside arable lands has forged an effective structure for growing and reserving forests.
The administration said the government has invested more than 10 billion yuan (1.2 billion US dollars) to enhance the protection of forests on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.
Statistics show that there are more than 800 nature reserves, with a coverage of 2.16 million hectares, or 12 percent of the valley's total.
At the same time, the green-for-grain project along the river has helped restore 4.28 million hectares of forest, for which morethan 97 million Chinese farmers have been given subsidies. Enditem