China plans 300 forest cities to improve environment

BEIJING, July 9 (Xinhua) -- China will build 300 forest cities by 2025 to improve the environmental condition of urban areas, the China Daily reported Monday.

The efforts are expected to help lower temperatures, improve air quality, create noise barriers, generate new wildlife habitats and improve local biodiversity, the forestry authority was cited as saying.

According to a national development plan released by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, 200 forest cities and six city clusters will be developed in the next two years.

Under the plan, areas including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster, cities along the Yangtze River and border regions connecting countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative will be top priorities.

A total of 138 cities have attained state-level forest city status, with an average annual increase of 13,333 hectares in forested area in each city over the past five years, according to the newspaper.