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China to strengthen grassland ecology protection

(Xinhua)

15:00, August 11, 2011

BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- A circular issued by the State Council, China's Cabinet, has called for more efforts, increased investment and intensified supervision for the country's grassland ecology protection.

The circular told government departments to set up and implement a subsidy and reward program for grassland protection and to combine the ecology protection with the efforts to increase herdsmen's income.

Under the program, China will prohibit herdsmen from allowing their cattle to graze on severely damaged grasslands, but the central budget will instead give them an annual subsidy of 6 yuan (0.93 U.S. dollars) for every mu (about 0.07 hectare) of prohibited grassland.

The budget will also reward herdsmen if they make efforts to preserve grasslands that are still available for grazing.

From this year on, the program will be carried out in the country's eight major grassland regions.

The government authorities should work to ensure that the herdsmen will not suffer losses from their efforts of cattle grazing reduction and grassland protection, the circular said.

Efforts should also be made to manage the grasslands in Hebei Province and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in order to control the sand storms in the country's northern regions, and to protect the grasslands in regions of Sanjiangyuan, Qinghai Lake and the water sources of the Yellow River, the circular said.

Moreover, the circular told government departments to strengthen the supervision of grassland resources.

The grassland conditions should be monitored on an annual basis and a comprehensive survey of grassland resources should be conducted every five years, the circular said.

Practices of illegal use and exploitation of grassland resources should be investigated and punished in accordance with the law, it said.

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