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BEIJING, September 11 – The 2006 joint meeting, attended by directors of the forestry bureaus of five provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in northern China, was held on September 8. At the meeting, Lei Jiafu, deputy director-general of the State Forestry Administration, said the forestry authorities will give more guidance to the development of regional forestry.

This year’s meeting was the 16th. At the meeting, Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province signed an agreement on joint prevention and treatment of forest fires and diseases and insects, marking a big step in the regional forest cooperation and development.

Lei praised the agreement and the joint meeting system, saying they could set an example for the national forestry work.

During the 10th five-year plan, the five provinces and regions made remarkable progress in forestry cooperation, and their forest resources and forest coverage all increased, and their ecological environment has been improved greatly. Forest-related industries, such as fruit, flower and eco-tourism, developed fast. In the five years, government investment in forestry in the five provinces and regions was 33.15 billion, six times bigger than investment made in the ninth five-year plan period.

Beijing, as the country’s political, economic and cultural center, is to host a green Olympics. Due to the special locations of these provinces and regions, forestry is an important sector. China is speeding up the construction of a forest ecological system and is transforming the traditional forest industry. The five provinces and regions have a bigger role to play in this transformation process.

Lei urged the five provinces and regions to pay special attention to ecological construction. Special-purpose forests should be given priority so as to bring more wealth to farmers. In the five provinces and regions, there are more 9 million hectares of collectively-owned forests, and reforms should be introduced to handle the operation rights, use rights and tree disposal rights to farmers, and to promote the reform of forest farms.

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