China warns of forest fires following snow storms

Recent cold weather across south China killed many trees, worsening the risk of forest fires, landslides and pest outbreaks later in the year, Reuters reported officials as warning on Tuesday.

The large number of trees felled by storms "will seriously affect the environment" deputy head of the State Forestry Administration, Zhu Lieke, was quoted as saying. He added it could damage "our ability to reach the goal of covering 20% of the nation with forests by 2010."

Forest cover in some parts of China had dramatically fallen, the report said, citing Xiao Xingwei, head of the forestry administration’s resources department.

"This will lead to a sharp decrease in biodiversity, increase in water run-off and landslides, and induce forest fires and pests," Xiao was quoted as saying.

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