Recently, the Chinese government has announced their goal of planting enough trees to cover an area the size of Ireland in 2018, according to China Daily.
The head of China’s state Forestry Administration, Zhang Jianlong said “Companies, organisations and talent that specialise in greening work are all welcome to join in the country’s massive greening campaign. Cooperation between government and social capital will be put on the priority list.”
This new year, China plans on continuing their efforts to solve their environmental issues. The government plans to increase their total coverage from 21.7 percent to 23 percent over the next couple of years. They also want to grow at least 6.66 million new hectares of forest this year.
The new forested area will be located in the northeast Hebei province,the Qinghai province in the Tibetan Plateau and in Inner Mongolia toward the Hunshandake Desert.
China has spent around $47 billion in planting trees over 69.2 million acres of abandoned farmlands over the last two decades, and over the past five years, the have planted on 33.8 million hectares.
The total investems are estimated to cost around $82.88 billion in planted trees and restoration services. There will also be new policies called “ecological red line” policies, according to Zhang. The new regulations will require local governments to cut down on “irrational” development near forested areas, other rivers, and national parks.
However, a study from 2016 pointed out that while the reforestry efforts were commendable, they didn’t do much in the way of encouraging biodiversity. China had been planing monocultures rather than forests and thus has seen issues with restoring biodiversity back into the area as well.
According to David Wilcove, who served as a Princeton University ecologist and evolutionary biologist, “I think we are going to see bona fide land abandonment, and that’s going to create opportunities around the world for reforestation,”
“The critical policy question is how to restore forests that provide multiple benefits to society, including preventing soil erosion, providing timber, and sustaining wildlife.” Wilcove noted in a 2016 interview. He noted that despite China’s issues, the country’s program could be an impressive model for other areas in the world, especially those that have deforestation problems.