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|Wednesday, September 05, 2001, updated at 22:06(GMT+8)|
Return of Farmland to Forest Key to Provincial Development: Shaanxi GovernorEncouraging peasants to retire fragile land from farming is key to the development of the Terra-Cotta Warriors birthplace, said Shaanxi Province governor Cheng Andong in his keynote speech at the ongoing China Western Forum.
The governor said that in the last two years, some 12,000 square kilometers of land under threat from soil erosion has been treated, and more than 271,000 hectares of farmland is now covered with trees and grass. The provincial forest coverage has increased to 30 percent, compared with the figure of 14 percent five decades ago.
The northern Wuqi County reported no decline in grain production despite the decrease in the area of farmland last year. Cheng said that the project has helped to restructure agriculture and accelerated the economic development in rural areas.
Cheng said he believes that the already weak eco-system on the loess plateau due to exploitation will be restored in the next one or two decades by this means.
Meanwhile, the project has benefited urban areas as more water is secured because forests help to retain water. More nature reserves also add to the tourist sites other than the cultural relics such as Terra-Cotta Warriors and the ancient city wall, the governor noted.
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