Report On the State of the Environment In China
2 0 0 2




Forests According to the fifth investigation on national forest resources, the area of land for forestry in the nation was 263.2947 million hectares. The area of forestry was 158.9409 million hectares. The total storage volume of live timber was 12.488 billion cubic meters. The forest coverage rate reached to 16.55%, equivalent to 61% of the world average level, less than the world average by 10.48%. The area of forest per capita in the country was 0.13 hectares, equivalent to 1/5 of the average area per capita in the world. The storage volume per capita was 9.05 cubic meters, 1/8 of the world average storage volume, which was 72 cubic meters. Compared with the previous investigation of national forest resources, the forest area and storage amount kept increasing. The growth of trees exceeded the consumption. 

In 2002, with the implementation of key projects in forestry sector, the afforestation area in the nation reached to 7.6123 million hectares, an increase of 53.7% compared with that in the previous year. Among that, the area of artificial afforestation was 6.7373 million hectares. The area of aeril seeding afforestation was 874.9 thousand hectares. The area to be closed to facilitate afforestation reached to 2.5601million hectares. The afforestation area was increased rapidly.

Grassland The area of natural grassland of various kinds in the country was 393 million hectares, covering about 41.7% of the country's land, making China second only to Australia in the extent of its grassland resources. However, the area of grassland per capita was only 0.33 hectares, one half of the world average per capita. In 2002, the newly increased area of artificial grassland in the whole country was more than 3.6 million hectares. The newly increase area of fenced grassland was more than 2.5 million hectares.

At present, the trend of overgrazing was not changed foundementally. The cases of grassland deterioration, such as unscientific utilization of grassland and irrational gathering of grassland, occurred from time to time. 90% of the usable natural grassland suffered from degradation of certain degree. The degradation area was increased annually by 2 million hectares. The eco-environment of grassland in certain areas was improved, but the overall deterioration trend was not turned around.

Diseases, Pests and Rat Disasters In 2002, the total area of forests with diseases, pests and rat disasters was 8.47 million hectares, an increase of 161 thousand hectares compared with that in the previous year. Among that, the area of forests suffering from pests was 6.875 million hectares. The area suffering from diseases and rats was 810 thousand hectares and 785 thousand hectares respectively. Besides, the area of desert forest, shrub forest, poplar forest and natural second growth forest affected by pests was 3.44 million hectares. The main types of pests included: nematodiasis of the pines, pine moth, red turpentine beetle and others.

In 2002, the total area of grassland affected by rats was more than 80 million hectares. The area with rats disasters was 20 million hectares and mainly located in Qinghai, Inner Mongolia, Sichuan, Gansu, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, Ningxia, Tibet, Helongjiang, Shanxi, Hebei, Shaanxi, Jilin, and Liaoning. The area affected by disasters was increased by 28% compared with the average lever in the past ten years ( which was 16 million hectares ). The area with prevention and control measures was more than 7.9 million hectares, accounting for 25% of the area affected by disasters and retrieving economic loss of 0.7 billion Yuan. In 2002, in 13 provinces and regions as Qinghai, Inner Mongolia, Sichuan, Gansu, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, Ningxia, Tibet, Helongjiang, Shanxi, Hebei, Shaanxi, Jilin, and Liaoning, and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the area of grassland hit by locust disaster was 23.248 million hectares, among which, the area seriously affected was 12.663 million hectares, an increase of 9.4% and 8.0% respectively compared with the figures in the previous year. 2002 was the year with the largest number of locust disasters since the founding of new China. The grassland and the green belt for agriculture and livestock grazing in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, Qinghai, Tibet, Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning and other provinces suffered from enormous loss. The loss of herbage nationwide reached to 10.46 million tons, equivalent to 2.09 billion Yuan of economic loss.

Fire, Snowstorm and Drought In 2002, there were 7527 cases of forest fire in the country. Among that, there were 4450 cases of forest fire alarms, 3046 cases of fire, 24 cases of serious fire and 7 cases of extremely serious fire. The affected forest area was 47.63 thousand hectares with the damage rate of 3‰. The number of casualties was 98. Compared with the number of the annual average in the past three years, the number of cases of forest fire was increased by 27.5%. The affected forest area and the casualty number were decreased by 19.8% and 55.3%.

In 2002, there were 448 cases of grassland fire in the country. Among that, there were 366 cases of fire alarms, 76 cases of grassland fire, 3 cases of serious fire and extremely serious fire. The affected grassland area was 62 thousand hectares. 1 person was wounded. 31 heads of livestock were dead. The cases of rather serious snowstorm occurred in Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang. 560 thousand people from 133.6 thousand herdsman households in 34 counties under the jurisdiction of 11 cities in the whole autonomous region were suffered from the storm. The affected grassland area reached to 310 million mu. The number of livestock affected by the disaster was 14.0715 million. The number of livestock died from the disaster was 121.5 thousand. The shortage of herbage was 128 million kilogram and the shortage of forage was 16 million kilogram.

Measures and Actions

Progress of six ecological engineering projects Since the implementation of natural forest conservation project in 1998, the accumulated area of artificial afforestation reached to 1.466 million hectares, the aeril seeding 1.653 million hectares. The area closed to facilitate afforestion was 4.781 million hectares. The conserved area was 94.967 million hectares . Among that, the area of afforestation completed in 2002 was 229 thousand hectares, aeril seeding afforestion 825 thousand hectares, and mountains closed for afforestion 400 thousand hectares.

Project of shelter forest construction in key areas This project included Three-North shelter forest project phase IV, the Yangze, Pearl River Basin and costal shelter forest project phase II, and Taihang mountain greening project phase II. In 2002, the area of afforestation completed by six shelter forest projects was 703 thousand hectares, and that of aeril seeding afforestation was 73 thousand hectares. Among that, 454 thousand hectares of afforestation area belonged to Three North shelter forest project, 110 thousand hectares belonged to Yangze river basin shelter forest project, 56 thousand hectares belonged to coastal shelter forest project, 47 thousand hectares belonged to Pearl River Basin shelter forest project, 76 thousand hectares belonged to Taihang Mountain greening project, 33 thousand hectares belonged to plain greening project. 771.2 thousand hectares of mountains were closed for afforestation in the project area. 52.8 thousand hectares of low-efficiency protective forest were remade. 

Project of returning arable land to forest The project of returning arable land to forest started its implementation in 1998 and expanded its scope to 25 provinces ( regions and municipalities) and Xinjiang Production Construction Corp. in 2002. The accumulated area of land conversion was 5.831 million hectares, among which the land conversion for afforestation was 2.692 million hectares and the area of afforestation in waste mountains and lands suitable for afforestation was 3.139 million hectares. In 2002, 4.257 million hectares of arable land were converted to forest, among which 1.958 million hectares of arable land were converted for afforestation and the area of afforestation in waste mountains and lands suitable for afforestation was 2.299 million hectares.

Project of sandstorm sources treatment in Beijing and Tianjin Since the project initiated in 75 pilot counties under the jurisdiction of five provinces ( regions and municipalities ) – Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, by the end of December, 2002, 2.28 million hectares of land was treated. Among that, 894 thousand hectares of land was completed afforestation. In 2002, 1.416 million hectares of land was treated in five provinces ( regions and municipalities). Among that, 850 thousand hectares of land was afforestated, 479 thousand hectares of grassland was treated. 87 thousand hectares of small river basins were treated. 4324 water conservancy projects were completed. 

Project on protection of wild life and construction of nature reserves Dalai Lake entered into the list of UN Man And Biosphere Nature Reserves. Therefore, 22 nature reserves in the country were listed on the UN MAB network. 21 nature reserves were on the list of International Significant Wetland. 

Project on construction of fast-growing timber forest bases in key areas The project started in July, 2002. 18 provinces ( regions) and other areas suitable for the development of fast-growing forest were involved in the project. The scope of the project covered 13.33 million hectares, among which, 5.86 million hectares of forest bases for pulp raw materials, 4.97 million hectares of forest bases for man-made board raw materials. 2.5 million hectares of forest bases for timber. 

Key projects on conservation of grassland In 2002, the central government invested 0.8 billion Yuan from treasury bond in western regions for the rehabilitation of natural grassland, fencing of the grassland and construction of the bases for propagation of herbage seeds. 808 thousand hectares of grassland was fenced. 290 hectares of natural grassland and 11 grass seeds bases were constructed. By implementing the project, the plant coverage rate in the project area was increased by 10 to 20 percent compared with that before project implementation. The productivity of grassland improved obviously. The amount of grass production per mu was increased by 100 kilograms. The implementation of the project effectively contained the degradation of grassland, alleviated soil erosion and improved water storage capacity of the grassland. The eco-function of the grassland in the project area was rehabilitated and strengthened.

Initiation of project on returning pasture land to grassland In 2002, the government invested 1.2 billion Yuan to start the project of returning pasture land to grassland in 96 key counties of Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, Ningxia, Yunnan, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corp. and other provinces. 

Implementation of UN Convention to Combat Desertification The implementation of the UNCCD in China was highly appraised by international society. In the process of the fulfillment of convention, China considered the participation of competition on international capital, technology and human resources as a strategic task for international cooperation and carried out cooperation under the framework of Convention. Seminar on Cooperation of North-east Asian Countries on Sandstorm was successfully organized. Technical cooperation on prevention and control of desertification with Germany, the United States and other countries was carried out. China also actively participated in activities of all specific networks, which had been initiated in Asian region and strengthened exchange and cooperation in all-round way. As a host country for the network of desertification monitor and comprehensive evaluation, China played an active role in formulating the indicator system for Asian region.

Establishment of garden cities By 2002, 39 cities ( districts ) were designated as state level “garden cities (districts)”. 

China Environmental Award for Habitat By 2002, 8 cities as Shenzhen, Dalian, Hangzhou, Nanning, Shihezi, Qingdao, Xiamen and Sanya won China Environmental Award for Habitat set up by Ministry of Construction. 62 cities or projects won China Environmental Model Award for Habitat. The municipal government was strongly pushed to improve living environment of urban residents. 

















Water Environment
Marine Environment
Atmospheric Environment
Acoustic Environment
Solid Wastes
Radiative Environment
Arable Land / Land Resources
Climate and Natural Disasters
Environmental Management