CHINA TO BAN COMMERCIAL LOGGING IN TIMBER-RICH HEILONGJIANG PROVINCE
China is imposing a complete ban on commercial logging of state-owned forests in its Heilongjiang province, a major timber producer. The government sees the restriction as a trial program to allow the forests to regenerate, while refocusing the timber industry on forest management. Funds have been allocated to support forestry workers for the next 5 years, and programs will encourage them to become forest rangers or take up sustainable agriculture. Observers see the ban as part of China's larger shift from an extraction-heavy economy to one focused more on sustainability. Heilongjiang's forests are also habitat for the critically endangered Siberian tiger. For the full story, see http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0128-gfrn-joshi-china-tries-out-logging-ban-in-heilongjiang.html.