China's forests regenerate but other nations could pay price

    by Chris Arsenault, Thomson Reuters Foundation
    Monday, 21 March 2016 15:08 GMT

Labourers use a rope to pile logs at a timber market in Huaibei, Anhui province June 28, 2010. REUTERS/Stringer

Instead of cutting down its own trees to manufacture goods for export, China has become one of the world's leading timber importers.

The result: China's forests have begun to regenerate after decades of logging, but the problem of deforestation may have shifted to other nations exporting wood to the world's most populous country, says a new study from researchers at Michigan State University in the United States.

Analysing NASA images and official data, researchers concluded that a government programme to regenerate forests by banning logging in some areas and cracking down on illegal timber harvesting is working.

Between 2000 and 2010, about 1.2 percent of China's territory - an area larger than Portugal - experienced a significant net gain in tree cover, said the study.

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