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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Tibet striving to curb desertification

September 21, 2007 2007-09-19

LHASA, Sept. 19, 2007 (Xinhua) -- An afforestation project has begun to
curb desertification and soil erosion in southwest China's Tibet
Autonomous Region.

With a total investment of 600 million yuan (79 million U.S. dollars),
more than 53,000 hectares of trees will be planted by 2010 around major
towns, alongside trunk roads, airports, scenic spots and border ports in
53 counties of seven cities.

The efforts target at increasing the region's forest coverage rate by
0.04 percent to 11.35 percent, according to the Tibet financial bureau.

The new forests will help to preserve 1.86 million tons of soil and
release 1.59 million tons of oxygen, as well as improve the quality of
surface and underground water.

In Tibet, 217,000 square kilometers -- about 18 percent of China's
territory -- are classified as desert and almost 400 square kilometers
of land is affected by desertification every year, official statistics show.

The project will also provide nearly 7,000 jobs for farmers and herdsmen.

Measures were taken to preserve virgin forests, and to transform
farmland and pastures to forests and grassland in Tibet during the
national 10th five-year plan period between 2001 to 2005.

The region, accounting for 12.5 percent of China's total territory, will
focus on forest and grass plantation to build barriers against wind and
sandstorms to consolidate soil preservation.

Editor: Song Shutao

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