China will plant new forests covering an area of 84,000 square kilometers, roughly the size of Ireland, in 2018, as it aims to increase forest coverage to 23% of total landmass by the end of the decade, China Daily reported last week. The current forested area stands at 21%.
Meanwhile, a separate source in the Central Military Commission said a large regiment of the People’s Liberation Army – in addition to the nation’s armed police force, which has just been absorbed into the commission – have been withdrawn from northern border areas and tasked with a new mission: planting trees.
The actual number of soldiers mobilized is said to be over 60,000.
The armed police force has a specially designated forestry branch to patrol and exercise jurisdiction in forested areas such as the northeastern Greater Khingan mountain range – dubbed ‘China’s green lungs’ – in Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia provinces.
Zhang Jianlong, head of …
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