LHASA, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Tibet will remain committed to protecting the environment, a deputy director of the regional Environmental Protection Department, said at the Forum on the Development of Tibet on Thursday.
Zhang Tianhua said more than 7.1 billion yuan (about 10 billion U.S. dollars) has been spent on this area since 2009, when an ecosystem protection plan got central government approval.
A total of 15.5 billion yuan is earmarked for environmental protection measures before 2030, Zhang told the forum.
The funding so far has been used to conserve grassland, forests, wetlands and wildlife reserves, and for building monitoring facilities.
More than a third of Tibet's land area is covered by nature reserves, totalling over 412,000 square kilometers.
"Sandstorms have been contained, biodiversity increased, and the wildlife population has been expanding faster than ever before. Tibet has made great achievements in conserving the environment," Zhang said.
"The regional government has also spent heavily on compensating farmers and herders for their efforts in protecting environment," he added.
Last year, more than 4.3 billion yuan was paid to Tibetan farmers and herders who patrol and protect forest and grassland.