China is planning huge deforestation within the next five years

China is planning huge deforestation within the next five years

Forest statue on the side of the Great Wall of China.

Image: Pall RF / Weinbin

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China is known for its large dimensions: The size of the country alone, the vast amount of large buildings and the largest rapid transit network in the world. The so-called green wall construction has been under construction since 1970 and is known only for a few years – the world’s largest afforestation project. Now China is adding another target: In the annual five-year plan, forest officials have announced that by 2025, 33 million hectares will be deforested in the country. The region roughly corresponds to the federal state of Baden-Württemberg.

The primary goal of forest measures is climate protection. China is looking to achieve its CO2 reduction goals with the creation of 33 million hectares of new grasslands and forests. These are that China’s carbon dioxide emissions should be reduced by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2060. Forests and grasslands are expected to reduce the amount of carbon.

China’s current annual plan for the conservation and development of grasslands and forests is the 14th plan of its kind and envisages increasing the proportion of forests to 24.7 percent and the proportion of grasslands to 57 percent by 2025. This is from the 1970s, when the construction of the green wall began China began reforestation, creating the world’s largest planted forests.

Apart from afforestation, planting of various crops is relevant

In 2019, the journal Nature Sustainability published a study that found that at least 25 percent of forest growth in the 2000s was due to plantations in China. Zhang Wei, head of the National Forest and Grassland Administration’s (NFGA) Department of Ecological Protection and Restoration, told a news conference on the annual plan that in addition to deforestation, the quality of forests should also be improved.

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Instead of promoting the formation of monocultures, NFGA relies on the planting of diverse cultures. In addition, bioenergy is to be obtained from forests, and building materials such as steel and cement are to be replaced with bamboo and wood. According to Zhang, this makes it possible to reduce emissions further.



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