Conservation efforts lead China to plant a forest the size of Ireland in 2018

China will plant new forests in 2018 that will cover at least 6.6 million hectares (16.3 million acres), creating an area roughly the size of Ireland. China's move toward environmental protection is an effort to shed their polluting image and possibly surpass the United States in conservation efforts, after President Trump recently withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement.

The goal of China’s State Forestry Administration is to increase the percentage of forest to total land in the country, from 21.7% currently to 23% by 2020 and 26% by 2035. The country's greening campaign is open to any organization willing to assist, and prioritizes government and social capital cooperation.

China declared a "war on pollution" in 2014, and is getting stricter with companies, as well as punishing officials who break polluting rules. A top priority has become cleaning up polluted rivers, and expanding forests. In the past five years, China has spent more than 538 billion yuan ($82.9 billion) expanding forests, and the government has also introduced “ecological red line” policies that prevent construction and "irrational development" near national parks, forests, and rivers.

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