China's forests, grasslands and wetlands contribute 1-fourth of world's new forests

China's forests, grasslands and wetlands contribute 1-fourth of world's new forests

A aerial photo taken on Aug 23, 2021 shows the landscape of the Saihanba forest farm in North China's Hebei province. PHOTO XINHUA China ranks first in the country in the land area of planted forests and forest coverage growth, contributing one-fourth of the world's new forest area in the past decade.

There is a large-scale greening campaign to preserve existing ecosystems, add new forests, grasslands and wetlands, and fight desertification that is the secret behind the rapid growth of China's green landscape.

The National Forestry and Grassland Administration said that the accumulative afforestation area reached 64 million hectares over the past 10 years, while 11 million hectares of grassland were improved and more than 800,000 hectares of wetlands were added or restored.

From the tree planting programs to the world's largest artificial plantation, the Saihanba mechanized forest farm, China has been trying to build a Green Great Wall to protect the environment.

According to official data, China designated March 12 as the National Tree Planting Day in 1979, and Chinese citizens planted approximately 78.1 billion trees across the country between 1982 and 2021.

The COVID 19 epidemic did not keep cities from planting trees. Some of the volunteers were instructed to keep a safe distance when planting trees while others assembled small groups of volunteers to plant trees on behalf of hundreds of public-spirited residents.

Besides the offline planting activities, the country's internet-based greening campaign, Ant Forest allows residents to adopt trees by making donations online or garnering credits by performing low-carbon activities like taking public transportation in exchange for a real tree being nurtured in their names.

More than 550 million people have participated in the project to plant over 200 million trees, reducing the equivalent of 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions through low-carbon activities by the end of May.

China has built a protected-area system with national parks as the mainstay, supplemented by nature reserves and nature parks in recent years.

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Saihanba in northern China was once an imperial hunting ground and degraded into an area of barren wilderness. It is now a national forest park and nature reserve, with a total forest landscape of nearly 77,000 hectares, thanks to the efforts of three generations of Saihanba foresters.

The restoration of mangrove wetlands in the coastal area of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, is a carbon sink and ensures that the total area of mangroves will gradually expand, reversing the trend of ecological degradation of the mangrove wetland system. Carbon sinks are things such as plants, oceans or soil that absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than they release.

China's efforts to expand its forest area and improve forest quality have increased the carbon sink, which contributes to the country's goal of peaking CO 2 emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060.

China is expected to follow an eco-friendly path for the world's green development with the aim of increasing the forest cover to 26 percent by 2035 and becoming a leading country in forestry by 2050.