Fruits help to preserve local ecology, bring revenue to farmers
Aboriginal plants such as forsythia are used to preserve ecology in Shanxi, as they can protect soil from being washed away by rains. HU BO/FOR CHINA DAILY
Late September is harvest season for sea buckthorn fruit in Fangshan county in the west of Shanxi.
Zhao Gaiping, a resident in Huicun village, was busy collecting the yellow or orange-colored fruit that scattered on the slopes of Lyuliang Mountains.
"Selling the fruit to local wine or herbal tea producers is an important source of my family income,"Zhao said.
With rich content of various vitamins and amino acids, sea buckthorn is a favorite ingredient for producers. Herbal tea made from the leaves help with digestion, lowering blood fat and blood pressure.
However, in the eyes of local officials, the sea buckthorn goes beyond healthy food. It's also used for the protection of the environment.
Due to a reduction in vegetation coverage over the past few decades, Fangshan is among the regions of weakest ecology in Shanxi. Water erosion has presented severe challenges that have required generations of locals to tackle, said Wang Jinfeng, Party secretary of the county.
"In our decades' practice in improving the environment, we found that aboriginal plants like wild sea buckthorn can play a crucial role in protecting soil from being washed away by rains," Wang said.
The county began to plant sea buckthorn at the beginning of this century, and more than 13,000 hectares of the wild herb has been added to the mountains and hills in Fangshan, Wang said.