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Chinese pasture region charges fee for grassland exploitation

(Xinhua)

13:40, February 28, 2012

HOHHOT, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in charge of China's largest pasture region have started to impose a fee on grassland exploitation to discourage rampant commercial activity, said a senior agricultural official from north China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Zhai Xiu, deputy director of the regional bureau of agriculture and animal husbandry, said on Tuesday that the bureau's grassland protection departments began to charge a grassland rehabilitation fee in January.

Companies or individuals that engage in commercial activity ranging from mining, mineral prospecting and paving to tourism development and movie shoots will be charged a fee ranging from 22,500 yuan (3,570 U.S. dollars) to 37,500 yuan for every hectare of grassland used.

Zhai said the fees will be used to rehabilitate damaged grassland.

Inner Mongolia boasts China's largest area of natural pasture, about 86.6 million hectares. Commercial activity has begun to chip away at the pastures, however, with 5,663 hectares of grassland damaged by activity in 2011 alone, according to the bureau.

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