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Poverty Targeted in China Forestry Aid Project

Poverty Targeted in China Forestry Aid Project

Reducing poverty is the ultimate goal of an Australian aid project to counter the combined effects of land overuse and erosion in Qinghai province in north-western China.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Chris Gallus, today announced that Australia would provide up to $12.25 million for the five-year project.

To be known as the Qinghai Forestry Resources Management Project, it aims to introduce new techniques and technologies to Qinghai provincial and local government forestry agencies and communities to improve their ability to better plan and implement sustainable land management.

'The project has been designed to address poverty from a natural resources management and community perspective as opposed to taking an engineering approach,' said Mrs Gallus.

'Australia has expertise in this area and a successful record in employing biological or vegetative methods, which are cheaper and more sustainable than engineering methods.'

Mrs Gallus said the project, funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), would be implemented by the Qinghai Forestry Bureau.

Once densely forested, the project area was substantially cleared of trees 150 years ago. Since then, increasing pressure from cultivation and grazing has resulted in a cycle of poverty and continuing environmental degradation. 'The objective of the project is to break that cycle,' said Mrs Gallus.

'In addition to transferring Australian skills and technologies to local institutions, the project will be pitched at the community level in order to win local acceptance for conservation and resource management and to impart teaching skills and techniques that can be passed on to other communities.

'Improving the ability of affected communities to plan and implement better resource management will contribute to reducing rural poverty in resource- poor areas,' said Mrs Gallus

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