Deforestation, Environment, and Sustainable Development: A Comparative Analysis

By Dhirendra K. Vajpeyi | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
Deforestation in China

Dhirendra K. Vajpeyi and Alyona Ponomarenko

The Peoples Republic of China (PRC) is immensely rich in natural diversity, and is known as a “megadiversity” country. It houses a diverse variety of flora and fauna. Approximately 104,500 animal species are found in China, with 4,400 vertebrates, which is 10 percent of the world's total. It also has more than 30,000 species of plants. More than 100 species of rare animals are native to China, including the giant panda, the lesser panda, and the Yangtze crocodile {Beijing Review, 3 September 1995, 11). Forests provide nurturing habitats to these species. Forests also play an important role in China's economy.

China has rich nonwood products of significant economic value that are indispensable to people's living. Nonwood forest products fall into two ma- jor categories: economic forest products and forest chemicals. Economic for- est products include fruits, industrial raw materials, beverages, edible woody oil, spices, bamboo products, and woody medical herbs. Among forest chemi- cals are active carbon, natural edible pigment, and turpentine oil (APFSOS 1998, 30).


CHINA'S FOREST RESOURCES:
CURRENT SITUATION

Since the introduction of “Four Modernizations,” China has witnessed a spectacular economic growth. Yet it still suffers from chronic shortages in almost all spheres, and has a long way to go before it becomes a modern industrialized country. Its population is vast and so are its needs. China re- mains predominantly an agricultural country, with scarce water, land, and

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