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Southwestern China to Improve Eco-system of Upper Yangtze River

CHENGDU, October 11 -- High-ranking officials from five provinces and autonomous regions and two cities pledged to enhance cooperation to improve the eco-system of the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River, China's longest waterway, as well as the Pearl River.

They made the decision at the ongoing 17th Southwestern China Economic Coordination Meeting, which aims to solidify cooperative relations between Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Chongqing, Chengdu and Tibet in their economic development.

The prime task is to protect the existing forests to prevent further erosion. A project approved by the central government last year involved a ten-year plan to maintain forests and plant trees covering an area of more than 60 million hectares.

Over 90 billion yuan (11 billion U.S. dollars) will be invested to turn land used for farming back into forests and grasslands.

Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi will continue to build shelter forests for the upper and middle reaches of the Pearl River. Control of desertification is also listed as a task.

Some 13 million more hectares of forest is expected to be added to the upper and middle reaches of the two major rivers to effectively control erosion and improve the environment.

The meeting was initiated in 1984 by Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi and Chongqing, then expanded with the participation of Chengdu and Tibet.

-- source: Xinhua News Agency

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