Shandong to appoint forest chiefs to guard woodlands

(| Updated : 2019-08-02

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A view of Nantian Gate of Mount Tai in Tai'an, East China's Shandong province. [Photo/IC]

Shandong province will appoint local government heads as forest chiefs across the region -- at the provincial, city, county, township and village level -- to improve protection of the forests and woodlands, according to information released at a local government news conference on Aug 1.

Just like mayors and county heads are responsible for their beats, forest chiefs will be responsible for the management and protection of forestry resources, according to a document tabled by the provincial government.

Government officials will be hired as forest chiefs at the provincial, city, county, township and village levels, and heads of provincial regions will be general chiefs  responsible for all the forests and wooded areas in the region, according to the document.

The responsibilities of the forest chiefs include forest resource protection, forest fire prevention and clamping down on illegal logging, as well as ecological restoration. Their job performance will be assessed, and they will be held accountable if environmental damage occurs in the forests they take charge of, according to the document.

The province's top officials will be appointed as chiefs to oversee important ecological areas such as Mount Tai, Mount Meng, Laoshan Mountain and Kunyu Mountain.

At present, the province is home to some 2.84 million hectares of forest area while the forest coverage rate is 17.95 percent, which is about 5 percentage points lower than the national average of 22.96 percent, ranking it 23rd in the country.