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Delegates of APEC had discussions in Qing Dao on May 7.

QING DAO, May 7 - The fifth APEC’s Expert Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT) was held in Qingdao, east China’s port city of Shandong on May 7. Delegates from 21 APEC economic entities had discussions on establishing mutual recognition mechanism on legal timber.

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Since the inception of the fast growing and high yielding timber plantation development program in August 2002, under the leadership of the State Forestry Administration and with the strong support from relevant agencies and joint efforts from cadres and staffs of the forestry sector, the program has been steadily moving forward with vigorous momentum of development and has made significant achievements.

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Program progress

In order to fundamentally improve the rapidly worsening ecological conditions in China, since the 1998 extreme flood disaster, the central government took “mountain enclosure with tree plantings, land conversion from farming back to tree planting” as key measures for disaster relief and rehabilitation as well as river system management. In order to gain experiences and improve policies, since 1999 some representative sited were selected to carry out pilot trials of land conversion from farming back to tree planting. By the end of 2001, earlier or later 20 provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the central government) and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps had conducted pilot trials. In 2002, based on success of the pilot trials, the land conversion program was fully incepted. The yearly progresses are described below.

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Program overview

Since the severe flood disaster in 1998, the “advices on post-disaster reconstruction, remediation of rivers and lakes and construction of water resource infrastructure by the central government” requested full stop of logging of natural forest in the middle and upper reaches of Yangtze River and Yellow River and transformation of forest logging enterprises into forest protection and tending companies, the State Forestry Administration (SFA) formulated “the implementation plan for the natural forest protection program in the upper reaches of Yangtze River and the upper and middle reaches of Yellow River” and “the implementation plan for the natural forest protection program in key regions of national forests in northeastern China and Inner Mongolia”. The State Council has held 2 Premier’s office meetings to examine the above implementation plans and 2 approved implementation plans, the natural forest resources protection program was then formally incepted.

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Program progress

1) Program investment. From the pilot program in 1998 to the end of 2004, the accumulative investment reached RMB 48.83 billion, of which RMB 12.29 billion were the central infrastructure investment, RMB 33.96 billion were the special subsidy fund of the central governmental finance, and RMB 2.58 billion were the counterpart funds of local government.

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