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 China spends 6.5 bln yuan protecting northern grasslands 

Xinhua  2009-12-07

China has invested more than 6.5 billion yuan (959 million U.S. dollars) to preserve grasslands in northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, said the regional government.

The money has been spent on returning grazing land to grassland, restoration of natural grassland and sand source control to prevent sandstorm. The efforts have helped reduce the area of degraded grasslands in Inner Mongolia to 500 million mu (33.5 million hectares) from 700 mu since 2000, it said in a statement.

Since the end of the 1990s, successive droughts, overgrazing and inadequate funding on grassland protection have led to deterioration and desertification of the grasslands in the region.

The region has set the goal of increasing the grasslands' vegetation coverage to 42 percent next year and 48 percent in 2015.

The vast autonomous region, which has a grassland area of 1.3 billion mu, plays a key role in maintaining the country's ecological security, especially in preventing desert threat to Beijing and neighboring Tianjin

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