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China to ban commercial logging of natural forests in key zones

2015-03-18 15:57 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

Commercial logging of natural forests in key zones will be stopped by 2020 as part of a slew of reform steps to promote ecological progress, Chinese authorities announced late Tuesday.

State plantations are also asked to reduce harvesting from man-made forests for business purposes by 20 percent by 2020, the central government said in an announcement on the reform management of national forest farms and zones.

China logs about 49.94 million cubic meters of natural forest each year and started a landmark pilot program in key forest zones in northeastern China's Heilongjiang Province to ban all commercial logging of natural forests last April.

The pilot program is expected to be gradually applied in other key state forest zones to stop similar logging practices, according to the announcement.

Forested areas will also be increased by 100 million mu ( 6.7 million hectares) and more than 600 million cubic meters of forest growing stock will be added to state forest farms. National forest zones will be increased by 5.5 million mu and will see a 400 million cubic meter increase of growing stock.

The announcement also urged national forest farms and zones to separate government functions from enterprise management and called for more fiscal, financial and infrastructure support to facilitate sustainable development and improve employees' livelihoods.

China has 4,855 state forest farms designed to promote forestation on uncultivated land and about 87 key forest zones in forest-rich areas to supply logs and manage forests.

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