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Huguan county turns barren land into green miracle

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2018-06-06

Four decades ago, at the southeast end of the Taihang Mountains in Shanxi province, a severely dry climate and land degradation left Huguan county barren.

However, since a mass tree planting campaign in 1978, the county has witnessed its forest coverage grow from less than 7 percent to 52.6 percent.

The first major problem for locals intent on replanting the area was to find ways to keep trees alive on barren stone mountains. Local famer Wang Wuquan invented a series of planting techniques, including Chinese pine planting, to aid this process and, through 10 years of trial and error, promoted his techniques throughout the county. Since 1978, generations of local residents have planted trees by relay teams, regularly turning local hillsides green.

Following afforestation, protection of the forest becomes the next major concern. To ensure the safety of newly planted areas, local authorities have called on towns and villages to build fire prevention walls to minimize damage from forest fires that often rage in winter and spring. The fire prevention walls already extend more than 5,000 kilometers.

A group of professional forest rangers is also expanding; its membership is now 1,449 strong. To encourage forest fire prevention awareness in young people, the county has been promoting fire safety, fire prevention and firefighting techniques in local schools.

The forests now covering over 67,000 hectares are in return bringing benefits to local residents. Chinese pine regrowth has provided locals with such by-products as pine pollen, pine needles and pine mushrooms.

The natural landscape of Huguan's Grand Valley in the Taihang Mountains has also been attracting many tourists, energizing the local economy.

The mass afforestation campaign continues with 700 professionals from 23 local planting cooperatives bringing scientific and effective planting methods deeper into the Taihang Mountains.

Huguan county turns barren land into green miracle

A comparison showing Huguan county before and after 40 years of afforestation. [Photo/Xinhua]

 

Huguan county turns barren land into green miracle

Grand Valley of the Taihang Mountains in Huguan county, Shanxi, May 24 [Photo/Xinhua]

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