China will scientifically green the national territory to improve the ecology and environment, tackle climate change and safeguard ecological security, according to a circular issued by the General Office of the State Council on June 2.
Local governments should create and incorporate scientific greening plans into national territory spatial planning, and facilitate their implementation with oversight.
Protecting arable land to the greatest extent, the plans should designate areas that need to be greened, primarily including barren hills, wastelands and desolate sand dunes suitable for afforestation, deserted and damaged mountain massifs, and degenerated forests and grasslands.
The condition of water resources should be considered in greening an area, with science-based and targeted solutions to restoring vegetation coverage.
For better species choices, each locality should prepare a catalog of native varieties of trees and grasses, and non-local varieties should be used with prudence.
Greening methods in key regions, such as the sources and branches of big rivers like the Yangtze and Yellow, and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau area, should vary in accordance with local conditions and the nation’s overall planning.
To manage greening projects completely or mainly invested by the State, contractors should draw up engineering designs, and departments in charge assess their rationality in terms of land use, water consumption, technical measures and other aspects, and supervise their implementation.
The circular stressed improving related policies, establishing long-term mechanisms and consolidating existing achievements in returning farmland to forests and grasslands, and providing maintenance and protection to help young forests survive.
It also urged harnessing available spaces, such as abandoned land in urban and rural areas, to expand the green network.
Funds at both central and local levels should be in place to support greening efforts, and accountability should be enforced through the forest chief system, together with monitoring and evaluations, the circular added.
The "forest chief" system should be implemented nationwide, and local governments should shoulder their main responsibility in the greening work, the document stressed.