Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has said that the use of forests to grow herbs and other products can boost the incomes of farmers and consolidate the reformation of collective forest ownership rights.
The premier made the remark in his written comments for a conference on forest products, which was held from Oct. 9 to 10 in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
China has a total of 4.6 billion mu (about 307 million hectares) of forests, of which more than 2.7 billion mu are collectively owned by farmers.
By utilizing the forests to grow herbs, vegetables, mushrooms and flowers, and raise animals, farmers can have more space for farming and help to expand the rural economy, according to the conference.
The move will also help farmers to comprehensively use forest resources instead of relying solely on logging, according to the conference.
The productivity of the nation's forests has greatly improved since the reform of collective forest ownership rights in 2008. Government data showed that the economic output of China's forests stood at 84 yuan (13.2 U.S. dollars) per mu in 2003, but soared to 198 yuan per mu in 2010.