Peeved by growing accusations of rampant industrial pollution, China has unveiled a conservation strategy for its flora. The green plan aims at reverting farmland to forests.
China is home to 10 per cent of all known plant species, and half of those unique to China, about 5000 species of plants, are under threat.
According to Jia Jiansheng of the department of wildlife conservation in the State Forestry Administration, Beijing, the initiative involves safeguarding China's plant diversity by allowing 15 million hectares of farmland to revert to forest over the next three years, extending nature reserves, protecting biodiversity hotspots and setting up a plant monitoring system.
A novel collaboration between three state agencies and London-based Botanic Gardens Conservation International, the plan envisages managing of farmland to support wild plant conservation.
"Fifteen million hectares of farmland will revert to forest over the next three years. The Chinese government is working hard to develop the economy and improve our sustainable environmental practices," New Scientist quoted Jiansheng as saying.