The 3.65-billion-yuan (US$521.4 million) government investment in China's forestry sector will help create about 1.2 million jobs a year, said the State Forestry Administration (SFA) on Monday.
SFA deputy director Zhu Lieke said the bulk of the money would be used to plant trees and improve living conditions of forestry workers but with bigger budgets, local forestry services could hire more people.
The investment is also expected to stimulate financial input in the sector, which was estimated to reach 10 billion yuan, from local governments and companies, the SFA said.
As of the end of 2006, there were 1.47 million people working in the forestry industry. China's forestry industry was ravaged by severe winter weather at the start of the year and the May 12 earthquake.
The government has promised "protective prices" on the purchase of damaged bamboo and lumber and urged financial institutions to give favorable support or write off bad loans due to disasters.
The 3.65 billion yuan is part of a combined investment of more than 200 billion yuan that the State Council, or cabinet, approved last week to help boost domestic demand and offset slowing exports through 2010.
(Xinhua News Agency November 18, 2008)