Shanghai poised to appoint 'forest chiefs'

Chen Huizhi
The chiefs will be responsible for the management of the city's forest lands, green lands and wet lands as well as the planning of new ecological space and disaster control.
Chen Huizhi

Shanghai will appoint officials at all levels of the government by the year's end, tasked with protecting and developing local ecological resources, the city government announced on Thursday.

The officials, to be known as "forest chiefs," will be responsible for the management of the city's forest lands, green lands and wet lands as well as the planning of new ecological space and disaster control.

Shanghai had a forest coverage of 18.5 percent by the end of last year and a per capita park green space of 8.5 square meters.

"Residents are happy with the work that's been done. But indeed, in terms of the total amount of ecological resources and services of ecological space, Shanghai still lags behind some other metropolises such as New York, London and Tokyo," said Deng Jianping, director of the Shanghai Greenery and Sanitation Bureau.

Shanghai aims to increase its forest coverage to at least 19.5 percent by 2025, and at least 23 percent by 2035. The per capita park green space is expected to be increase to at least 13 square meters by 2035.

By 2025, residents in the city's central districts will be able to find green space within 500 meters from 95 percent of the places, the government said.

The names and contact information of the "forest chiefs" will be made public in their areas of responsibility, and the "chiefs" at lower levels will have their work supervised by their superiors.

China's central government requires that all localities introduce "forest chiefs" by June next year.

In December 2016, the government announced that "river chiefs" will be nominated in all localities to enhance the protection of the country's rivers. The "river chief" system works in a similar way and has been considered a success.

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