Beijing joined hands with Tianjin and Hebei Province in launching a joint initiative to wipe out destructive forest pests, including American white moth.
Forestry authorities will hire planes to fly more than 1,000 sorties to spray pesticide over roadside green belts and key green projects covering an area of more than 667,000 hectares, China Daily reports on Monday.
The project is expected to last until the end of September, it said.
"The cost is about 6,500 yuan (800 U.S. dollars) per sortie. Each sortie can spray 800 kilograms of pesticide over an area of 67 hectares," the paper quotes Tao Wanqiang, an official with the Beijing Forestry Bureau, as saying.
According to the bureau, six provinces and municipalities in northern China, including Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Liaoning, Shandong and Shaanxi, are experiencing problems with the moth.
The invasive American White Moth, or Hyphantria cunea, a harmful forest migrant from North America, is threatening plants and crops in six provinces and municipalities in China with 116 counties involved, among which, Beijing and its neighbors suffered most, according to the State Forestry Administration (SFA).
First detected in northeastern Liaoning Province in 1979, American white moth has strong reproductive ability and disperses widely with a favorable chance. Each moth can lay 2,000 to 3,000 eggs. A family of larva can eat the leaves of a healthy tree in several days.
China is the world's third largest country and one of the richest in terms of biodiversity. A wide range of habitats and environmental conditions makes China especially vulnerable to the establishment of invasive species of foreign origin.
Statistics from the SFA show that each year the forests damaged by invasive forest pests such as the American white moth total more than 1.3 million hectares, causing more than 52.8 billion yuan (6.6 billion U. S. dollars) of losses to China's agriculture and forestry each year.