China will push forward the reform of its collectively-owned forestry system to facilitate forestry development, protect the environment and provide more benefits to farmers.
Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu made the remarks while addressing a national meeting on the reform of the collectively-owned forestry system held in east China's Jiangxi Province.
Hui made an inspection tour in Jiangxi from Wednesday to Friday, saying forestry reform there has made remarkable progress.
The reform aims to transfer more operational rights from local governments and forestry administrations to farmers.
The reform makes farmers forestry operators who sign long-term operating contracts with the government. Ownership of the forests will remain with the government.
Hui said that operation rights will make farmers more involved in the planting and maintaining of trees.
The trial reforms conducted in southeastern Fujian and eastern Jiangxi provinces in recent years have spurred farmers' commitment to forestry operations and enhanced their income.
Statistics show that the plantation area of trees doubled in Fujian in the year following the reform. Similarly, Jiangxi farmers' forestry income increased by 41 percent year-on-year in 2005.
Up to now, the government has conducted test reforms in Fujian, Jiangxi and Liaoning provinces, affecting about 15 million hectares of forestry.
A considerable number of China's farmers live in mountainous areas and depend on forestry for their livelihood. Many of them are amongst the poorest people in China.
The environment should not be negatively impacted by the reform, and relevant support policy concerning taxation, finance and insurance should be improved, Hui said.