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Preservation of Plants in Three Gorges Areas Proceeding Smoothly

China is increasing efforts to save and protect rare and endangered plants in the Three Gorges area on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, where a massive hydropower project is being built.

Forestry and environmental protection departments of Yichang, a city in central China's Hubei Province, have begun their work to save and protect plants in the Three Gorges area from extinction.

According to a plan of the city, living plants, plant seeds and genes of plants will all have banks built to preserve rare and endangered plants in the Three Gorges area.

Currently, equipment used in the gene bank has been installed and botanists will begin collecting plant genes in the Three Gorges area soon, according to a local forestry official in charge of the protection work.

Yichang city also plans to set up a database for specimen and pictures of Three Gorges plants.

Three Gorges area is home to more than 6,000 varieties of plants, including 47 rare plants and 37 plants unique to the area. These plants include cathaya argyrophylla trees and dawn redwood trees which have been growing in the region since the Permian Period (290 million to 250 million years ago).

Launched in 1993, the massive Three Gorges hydropower project is designed to control flooding on the Yangtze River, China's longest waterway, and increase China's electricity production. When the entire project is completed in 2009, it will be able to generate 84.7 billion kwhs of electricity annually.

(Xinhua News Agency May 16, 2006)

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