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China Turns More Farmland into Forest, Grassland

TAIYUAN, September 12 -- China has made marked progress in turning farmland into forest and grassland over the past three years.

Sources from the on-going meeting held in this north China city in Shanxi Province said Wednesday that the country has transformed 1.71 million hectares of farmland into forests and pasture since 1999.

China initiated the program three years ago to turn low-yield farmland back into forest and grassland in 20 provinces, cities and regions in north and central China, as part of its efforts to implement the strategy to develop the country's vast underdeveloped west.

Li Yucai, deputy director of the State Forestry Administration,said that local farmers have taken a positive attitude toward implementing the program as the government has provided them with subsidies, food and preferential policies.

Some provinces and regions have made successful trial experiments in promoting ecological development, which has helped farmers out of poverty, Li said.

-- source: Xinhua News Agency

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