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China announces household contract system for collective forests
A milestone in China’s rural development and forestland management was established on July 14, 2008, when the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ratified a set of national reforms aimed at boosting productivity and raising incomes among farmers in collective forest areas. Under the new legislation, effective immediately, a household contract system within forested areas will be implemented to encourage more planting of trees, inspire production initiative and investment and promote a conservation culture. The reforms will entrust rural households with forest management and production responsibility by offering 70-year contracts that include provisions to transfer, lease and mortgage access rights to a third-party.
Beginning in 2003, similar pilot reforms were implemented in Fujian, Jiangxi, Liaoning and Zhejiang provinces, to determine how tenure type impacts afforestation rates and household incomes. The pilot cases comprised over 58.3 million hectares of collective forestland that became contracted to farmer households, a system which aimed to replicate the success of earlier tenure reforms in China’s agricultural sector. Preliminary data from the pilot studies in forest areas indicate that incomes increased and environmental protection efforts were improved after the household contract system was implemented.
Sixty percent of China’s forestland is under collective management and more than half of its people live in these areas. As a pillar industry in China, forests figure prominently in the country’s exports and economic growth and the sector realized an output of USD 167.1 billion last year, up 9.85 percent from 2006.
More information on the data and results of the pilot reforms are available here.
Posted By Brooke Kennedy at 4:05pm on July 28, 2008
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