Farmers planting with buffalo-drawn seeder. - - Agri-Forestry and Soil Conservation. In 1949, China's forests covered a mere 5% of its total land area. Through diligent afforestation efforts, this cover was increased to 12.7% by 1978. Working only on non-agricultural land, the national policy of tree planting continues throughout the country with the increasing significance of forestry as a source of industrial raw material, food and oil, and as protection against wind and water erosion. For example, the tea-oil tree (Thea oleosa) comes from communes where forestry is an integral part of the total economic activity. The rural Chinese look upon tree growing as equally important as field or plantation crops, and various forestry training programmes are in progress. Bamboo forests and other trees are being planted as part of the national watershed management policy for erosion control and soil conservation.