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China reports improvement in grassland environment

NANCHANG, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- The ecology of China's grasslands is recovering with vegetation coverage increased to 54.6 percent nationwide, official data showed.

The indicator, mainly reflecting the density of grass, is 3.6 percentage points higher than five years ago, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The government has spent more than 20 billion yuan (about 3 billion U.S. dollars) each year on grassland for the past five years. In that time, overgrazing has dropped by 15 percentage points, while annual output of fresh grass passed 1 billion tonnes each year, said Yu Kangzhen, Vice Minister of Agriculture.

Speaking at a forum Tuesday, Yu attributed the improvement to government policy and environmental protection, including payments to those involved in improvement of grasslands.

Yu also pointed out that industrialization and urbanization will pose great challenges for grasslands.

He said the agriculture ministry will work to improve the regulatory system of grassland protection and push for development of farming for the benefit of local herdsmen.

China has around 400 million hectares grasslands, about 40 percent of the total territory.

Source:Xinhua, China.org.cn

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