Afforestation, poverty alleviation combine for win-win results in Shanxi
Farmers of Lijiawan village in rural Shanxi province go to plant trees. [Photo/Shanxi Daily]
Alleviating poverty in ecologically fragile areas has challenged North China's Shanxi province to integrate ecological restoration with poverty alleviation measures. The result is a win-win situation: environmental rejuvenation and economic development.
The province has carried out five main measures to realize this goal, including rewards and subsidies for transforming farmland into forests, more employment opportunities related to forest management and protection, improved financing for forestry and the establishment of professional afforestation cooperatives.
Plantations in a mountainous area in Shanxi [Photo/Shanxi Daily]
For instance, the government has provided 700 yuan ($104.59) to each poor household involved in transforming agricultural land into forests, based on the national subsidy of 1,600 yuan per mu (666.67 square meters).
Currently, Shanxi is returning 2,270.27 square kilometers of farmland to forests in 58 impoverished counties, with each poor household involved in the project receiving a subsidy of over 4,000 yuan.
By building platforms for people to participate in ecological governance and increase their incomes over past years, Shanxi has planted 13,000 sq km of forests, benefited more than 520,000 poor people and increased their collective income by over 1 billion yuan each year.