CHINA, February 20, China daily -- The major moves for environmental protection in China last year are as follows:
On Jan 17, the national conference on natural resources is held in Beijing. During the conference, the Ministry of Natural Resources announces several major tasks for the year. They include conducting a national survey of resources, improving the management of natural resources and formulating a territorial spatial-planning system to integrate the plans for functional zoning, land use, urban and rural areas and others into a unified entity.
On March 7, the first anniversary of The Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking, a report shows that about 1 million illegal products online have been deleted, with more than 10 million online illegal advertisements blocked and 350,000 illegal online accounts removed.
On March 12, National Tree Planting Day, an official from the National Forestry and Grassland Administration announces that China's forest coverage rate has risen by nearly 10 percentage points in the past four decades, with the world's largest planted forests and an 80 percent expansion of forested areas.
On March 29, the National Forestry and Grassland Administration and several other departments decide on 24 key activities for the year. They include the launch of a special campaign to combat the smuggling of wild animals, plants and related products, such as ivory.
In May, an official from the Ministry of Natural Resources announces that China has set a goal of establishing a territorial spatial-planning system by 2020, aiming to integrate the country's development plans at all levels to provide more efficient and eco-friendly spatial development.
June 10 marks China's first Cultural and Natural Heritage Day. According to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, the country has the largest number of world heritage sites as well as cultural and natural heritage sites. The 17 sites account for 6.8 percent of the global total.
In June, a high-ranking official from the National Parks Management Office announces that the first draft of a national standard for permission to establish national parks has been completed and is at the consultation stage.
In July, the China Flower Association announces that the peony has gained overwhelming public support in the search to find China's first official national flower. The association says the peony's elevation to national flower is awaiting approval from the central government.
In August, China's first overpass for wildlife migration is put into use in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, serving as a bridge for thousands of migrating animals. Spanning the newly constructed national highway between Fuyun county and Wucaiwan district, it is the first overpass to link animal habitats separated by the roads.
On Aug 20, the National Forestry and Grassland Administration announces China's strictest forest protection measures, including a ban on all commercial logging nationwide. All manufacturing and other commercial activities are prohibited in natural forests in the core protected area.
Also in August, the administration releases a plan to speed up construction of the country's national scenic trail program, aiming to build a nationwide network of trails by 2050.
In September, the State Council releases opinions on the implementation of three "red lines"－related to ecological protection, permanent farmland designation and urban and rural development－to help guide the formulation of the national territory spatial-planning system that is expected to produce more efficient and eco-friendly development.
Tibetan antelopes roam in Sanjiangyuan, Qinghai province in 2017. CHINA DAILY