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Tibet spends 507 mln dollars building eco-security barrier in 2011

(Xinhua)

09:47, January 06, 2012

LHASA, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region spent 3.2 billion yuan (about 507 million U.S. dollars) last year to turn the area into an "ecological security barrier," the local government said Thursday.

The spending financed 10 major projects including the conservation of Tibet's pastureland and wetland, measures to prevent forest fires and pests, wildlife protection and environment monitoring, said Zhang Yongze, the regional environment protection chief.

Tibet, covering more than 1.2 million square km, plays a vital role in maintaining the eco balance on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. With abundant glacier resources, rivers, wild animals and plants, the plateau region is widely recognized as a potential regulator against climate change for Asia and the entire Northern Hemisphere.

The State Council, China's cabinet, approved plans for the construction of Tibet's eco-security barrier in 2009.

"It is an urgent and important task to continue the ecological security barrier construction," Zhang said at an annual conference on Tibet's environmental protection, held in the regional capital, Lhasa, Thursday.

According to the national plan, 27 eco-conservation projects will be launched from 2011 to 2015, with a combined investment of 9.8 billion yuan.

Last year, Tibet put nearly 3.5 billion yuan in ecological compensation funds, and 3.2 billion yuan was spent, said Zhang.

This funding breaks down into 692 million yuan of transfer payments for national-level ecological areas, 764 million yuan of forest ecology compensation and 2 billion yuan of grassland preservation subsidies, he explained.

This year, Tibet will step up construction of eco-conservation zones along the Lhasa River and the Yarlung Zangbo River, and launch an environmental protection project at Namtso Lake, said Zhang.

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