(Yicai Global) Dec. 5 -- The total value of forestry sector output in China is expected to exceed CNY7 trillion (USD1.05 trillion), and the comprehensive production capacity of forestry products increases steadily, said Zhang Jianlong, chairman of the state forestry administration, today. However, there are still problems that need to be tackled in the forestry development area in China, officials warned.
The forest resources in China have been increasing over the past five years, and the forest quality has gradually improved, Zhang said at the Modern Forestry Development Summit 2017 sponsored by the Chinese society of forestry. The forest area in China reached 3.12 billion mu; the forest coverage rate was 21.66 percent and the forest stock volume reached 15.137 billion cubic meters, he revealed. The greening rate in urban built-up areas was 36.4 percent. China has become the fastest growing country in the world in terms of forest resources. Its ecological status has gradually improved, and the production capacity of ecological products has significantly increased, show relevant data.
There are still many problems in the forestry development area which need to be tackled, said Zhao Shucong, chairman of the Chinese society of forestry, at the summit.
The first issue is the spatial pattern of land afforestation. Promoting afforestation is an urgent need for building a “beautiful China,” Zhao said. After many years of hard work, China's forest coverage has reached 21.66 percent. However, the forest coverage in China is still 10 percentage points lower than the world average and is unevenly distributed, Zhao pointed out.
"It requires hard work to achieve the 23 percent forest coverage target rate by 2020," Zhao added. Most of the remaining land suitable for afforestation is in the arid and semi-arid areas in northern and northwestern China, or southern karst areas, where it is getting harder for afforestation. So, the spatial pattern should be carefully studied, he added.
Another issue is how to comprehensively improve the quality of forests. Surveys by the forestry sector showed that the quality of existing forests in China is not satisfactory. The proportion of young and middle-aged forests was about 65 percent, and forests that were too dense, too sparse, nearly matured or over matured accounted for 36 percent. The forest stock volume per hectare was 89.79 cubic meters, less than one-fourth of the developed countries. The annual ecological service value of forest per hectare was only 40 percent of that of Germany and Japan. Improving forest quality for different types of forests is an urgent issue, the summit participants warned.