A bird's-eye view of Yuquan Mountain Forest Park and its reservoir in Taiyuan city [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn] 

Taiyuan city, capital of North China's Shanxi province, will advance its development as a national forest city and improve the local living environment in the next three years, according to a municipal government meeting held on Sept 1.

The national forest city refers to a city where the urban ecosystem is dominated by forest vegetation and the construction meet the requirements by the national forestry authority.

Taiyuan officials said the city has taken forest and grassland protection and restoration as fundamental task in recent years with 20 forest parks built, laying a solid foundation for its development of a forest city.

On Dec 4 last year, the National Forestry and Grassland Administration officially gave the green light for Taiyuan to be developed into a national forest city, marking the beginning of the city's formal green transition. 

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Fenhe River Park along Fenhe River through Taiyuan city [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Under the plan, Taiyuan will continue to increase its urban landscaping. By the end of 2022, more than 15 parks of various types will have been built and expanded and at least five parks and five green spaces will be built in each district in the city annually, to increase the per capita green space.

Continuous efforts in improving the quality of forest parks through the city will be made. A forest landscape belt around the city with ring roads on the East, West and North mountains as the axis, as well as forest parks with different features, will be built to better meet the needs of citizens and tourists.

Guijiao county-level city, Qingxu, Yangqu and Loufan counties administered by Taiyuan will be active. They will increase their afforestation of barren mountains, transform areas of shrubs, tend forests and manage unfinished forest land projects -- to establish a shelterbelt covering over 666 square kilometers and help the development of a forest city cluster in the Taiyuan region. Qingxu and Yangqu counties will also each build at least one forest park.

In addition, Taiyuan will continue to promote the protection and restoration of the Fenhe River basin by planting shelterbelts, greenbelts and wetland parks along the Fenhe River, ensuring the forest coverage rate surrounding the waterway exceeds 70 percent.

Officials said the city plans to meet the national qualifying standards required in all 36 items in the five categories of the national forest city index system -- including forest networks and forest health -- by the end of 2022. It will then formally apply for the title of national forest city in 2023.