Survey shows improvement in ecological resources
A conservation worker provides food for swans wintering at a wetland in Rongcheng, Shandong province, on Wednesday. [Photo by Li Xinjun/For China Daily]
The National Forestry and Grassland Administration recently released the 2021 Forest and Grassland Resources and Ecological Status in China — marking the first time the country has monitored and evaluated resources nationwide.
It showed that last year, China's forest area was about 230 million hectares and the forest coverage rate was 24 percent. The grassland area was about 264 million hectares.
It also showed that the value of ecological products in forests, grasslands and wetlands is 28.5 trillion yuan ($4 trillion) per year, and the forest and grassland ecosystem's health, quality and functions are improving.
The report marks the establishment of a national forest and grassland resources database and a map that contains spatial location, management information, natural endowments and resource characteristics.
It unifies the green map and database of the country for local governments to refer to, the administration said on Tuesday.
It also helps evaluate achievements in forest and grassland protection and restoration, it said.
China's fight against desertification in northern China has yielded major achievements over the past 44 years.
By 2020, the Three-North Shelter Forest Program, launched in 1978, had planted and restored 31.7 million hectares of forest in the Three-North areas — North, Northeast and Northwest China.
Forest coverage in the Three-North areas had reached 13.8 percent as of 2020, up from 5.05 percent in 1978.
The program has curbed desertification in key areas such as the Horqin Desert and the Mu Us Desert, according to Zhang Liang, deputy head of the project's construction bureau.
"The economic forest of the project produced millions of tons of fruit that had helped 15 million farmers get out of poverty. Forest tourism in the northern provinces also earned local people billions of yuan," he said at a July news conference.