…from the quill of Antisthenes
What have the Chinese done again? They claim to have been planting 4 million hectares of trees every year for the last twenty years. Since 2011 is the International Year of Forests, China promised even more – 40 million hectares in the next ten years. Our Greens, Garnauts, Gillards, Turnbulls and other deliberately rose-coloured-glasses people will rejoice. Well, I know that forty divided by ten is still four, but who am I to argue with President Hu Jintao? The Chinese economy is impressive, even if one discounts the official statistics by half and square roots the official promises.
Unfortunately, in recent years over 100 million hectares of the predominantly primary or natural forests were privatised, and by now converted to chopsticks. Most of the new plantations are eucalyptus, rubber and fruit trees, i.e. exotic species. For economic reasons, they are being established in unsuitable arid or semi-arid conditions and on the Tibetan Plateau, which was never previously forested. The fast growing monoculture of planting on such an enormous scale threatens biodiversity and whole ecosystems. It also increases the risk of catastrophic fires. If not in a communist country, it would elicit noisy protests of the so called lovers of nature.
Yet another environmental disaster which will affect the whole of Asia is in the making in the Middle Kingdom. Marginally Mellowed Mao Mandarins could not care less; what is important is the “face”, on this occasion the “environmental face” presented to the naive West. I do not think the round eyes should take anything coming out of its propaganda machine seriously.