The State Forestry Administration has claimed that total forest cover in China reached 20.36% in 2008. Most of this results from the increase in tree crops such as fruit trees, rubber and eucalyptus, not recovery of natural forest.
Since the 1990s, China has planted more than 4 million hectares of new forest each year.
China would increase its total area of forest by 40 million hectares over the next decade.
Why the intense focus on forest cover? China has long promoted the planting of tree crops. Since 1999, the Grain for Green program has resulted in some 22 million hectares of new trees on sloping farmland. The program began after the 1998 Yangtze River floods, which the government blamed on loss of tree cover, although reductions in riparian buffers and soil infiltration capacity probably also had a major role.