South China's Guangdong Province is expected to establish the country's first coastal green belt by expanding mangrove plantations, sources with the provincial Forestry Bureau said yesterday.
The five-year project is also seen as an effort to protect the wetlands and wildlife in the province's coastal areas.
"By planting a large number of mangroves, the wetlands will become a green Great Wall along the coastal areas to protect and encourage the return of wildlife species," said Zhang Mingguo, an official with the bureau.
As part of the campaign launched earlier this year, 500 million yuan (US$60 million) has been earmarked to plant 50,000 hectares of mangroves in the wetlands.
The plant, found mainly in Guangdong, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is the major feature of the wetlands in the south of the country. [This probably refers to Kandelia candel; see this photo from Mai Po, Hong Kong]
Sources with the bureau said the coastal areas used to have more than 20,000 hectares of mangroves. But now only 3,400 hectares are left."