Photo taken on July 28, 2018 shows the scenery of the Saihanba State Forest Park in Chengde, north China's Hebei Province. (Xinhua/Chen Xiaodong)
BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The world has become a greener place than it was 20 years ago, largely thanks to China's reforestation efforts that are ambitious enough to have a significant impact on the global mission of cutting carbon emissions.
Every March 21, the United Nations (UN) raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests, offering an opportunity for countries to reflect on their afforestation efforts. China's progress is noteworthy.
A recent Boston University study tracking NASA satellites shows that over the last two decades, "the greening of the planet represents an increase in leaf area on plants and trees equivalent to the area covered by all the Amazon rainforests," with China and India leading the charge.
The study also finds the world is getting greener overall, and China alone accounts for 25 percent of the global net increase in leaf area although the country holds only 6.6 percent of the global vegetated area.
As a country that once suffered severe desertification, China's progress is stunning and marks a significant contribution to the global community.
Aerial photo taken on Aug. 1, 2018 shows a sand dune reserved by an eco-technology center at the Kubuqi Desert in Hangjin Banner, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. (Xinhua/Xing Guangli)
In 2018, China planted 7.07 million hectares of trees, and the country is home to the world's largest man-made forest.
The 2019 International Day of Forests promotes education to "Learn to Love Forests." According to the UN, it underscores the importance of education at all levels in achieving sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation.
In China, afforestation is not only on the government's agenda but also becoming a popular activity for Chinese netizens. Ant Forest, a Chinese public benefit program, encourages people to lead a low-carbon lifestyle, by which people can raise virtual trees on smartphones and eventually convert them into real ones. By the end of 2018, about 400 million people have joined the program, planting over 55.5 million trees.
As reiterated by the Chinese leadership, "lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets." China has promised to increase its forest coverage to 23.04 percent by 2020, and to 26 percent by 2035.
According to the UN, healthy forests mean healthy, resilient communities and prosperous economies. With an unshakeable will and unremitting efforts from the government and the public, China's goal will finally come true. Enditem