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China on track to meet 2020 forest targets, but concerns linger

Published on Feb 25, 2014 3:17 PM

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China is on track to meet its 2020 target for expanding the nation's forests to cover 23 per cent of its landmass to combat climate change and soil erosion, the State Forestry Administration (SFA) said on Tuesday.

But some observers are critical of the massive reforestation, saying China is focusing on plantation forestry and ignoring the restoration of natural forests, which are still being lost.

Since 2008, China has planted 130,000 sq km of new forests, roughly the size of Montenegro, taking total forest coverage to 2 million sq km or just over 21 per cent of its landmass.

"We have completed 60 per cent of our task to meet the target for forest coverage and aim at 23 per cent (of the landmass) by 2020," Zhao Shucong, the director of the SFA, told reporters in Beijing.

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