BEIJING, March 12 -- Today is Arbor Day - a day on which trees are planted and people are reminded of the importance of nature.
It is also the anniversary of Sun Yat-sen's (1866-1925) death, the founder of the Republic of China who initiated national tree planting schemes in 1915.
Thanks to increasing awareness of the importance of trees, the country's forest coverage rate has increased from 8.6 percent in the early 1950s to 18.21 percent today.
However, this is still less than two thirds of the world's average national forest coverage. And China only has 0.132 hectares of forest per citizen less than a quarter of the world average.
What is even worse is that 739,400 hectares of forest is felled every year, and 70 million cubic meters of wood is harvested every year.
There is little reason to be optimistic about the nation's forests. We are in the midst of a war between those who want to protect our trees and the economy's thirst for wood and land.
High-rises springing up on the edges of cities in the past two decades have eaten away at forests. More buildings, fewer trees and more cars are reducing nature's ability to purify the air.
We organize tree-planting events every year, but we fail to pay enough attention to the need for trees in urban areas.
The urban population is constantly increasing in the two decades from 1978 to 1998, it increased by 200 million. It is estimated that half the population will live in cities by 2020.
More urban residents will put more pressure on the ecology. More trees in urban areas are crucial to protecting the ecological balance and improving urban air quality.
But is there enough space for trees when real estate developers aim to build on every tiny piece of land they can get hold of ?
The government must take effective measures to protect the dwindling forests.
(Source: China Daily)