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Official: Chinese forests contribute a lot to absorbing world's CO2 2007-07-17 21:02:36
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    BEIJING, July 17 (Xinhua) -- China's forest coverage has risen constantly for almost two decades, increasing the nation's contribution to the world's carbon dioxide absorption, Zhu Lieke, deputy director of the State Forestry Administration (SFA), said on Tuesday.

    The world's forested area decreased by about 0.2 percent annually or 9.39 million hectares between 1990 and 2000, said Zhu, citing statistics from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

    However, forests in China had been growing by 1.2 percent or 1.81 million hectares every year in the same period, the highest growth rate in the world, said Zhu at a press conference.

    The expanding forests had enabled the country to absorb more carbon dioxide every year.

    Chinese experts estimated carbon dioxide absorbed by China's forests had risen from 470 million tons in 1990 to more than 500 million tons currently.

    China led the world in forestation with 54 million hectares of cultivated forest, said SFA chief Jia Zhibang at the press conference.

    Since the drive for voluntary tree-planting and forestation 26 years ago, the Chinese people had planted 49.2 billion trees, he added.

    The country's forest coverage was 18.21 percent or 175 million hectares, and its commodity timber coverage stood at 13.6 billion cubic meters, which would grow by 500 million cubic meters annually, Jia said.

    Research showed every new cubic meter of forest absorbed 1.83 tons of carbon dioxide and emitted 1.62 tons of oxygen on average.

    Jia said the government would continue to fight global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the industrial sector and stepping up forestation to absorb more carbon dioxide in the future.

    The country would endeavor to double the annual growth of forests in 30 to 50 years to 1 billion cubic meters, Jia said.

    He also pledged to better protect the country's forests, wetlands and woodlands, which could help absorb carbon dioxide as well.

    He said 22 million hectares of land vulnerable to desertification would be brought under control, and half of the country's wetlands, about 18 million hectares, would be properly preserved by 2010.

Editor: Bi Mingxin
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