Youyu leads in soil, water conservation
Forests and grassland now cover the once barren mountains and hills of Youyu county. [Photo/Shanxi Daily]
Youyu county in North China's Shanxi province was recently selected as one of five national pioneering zones for the high-quality development of soil and water conservation, according to Shanxi Department of Water Resources on Sept 7.
The construction of national pioneering zones is an important measure taken by the Ministry of Water Resources to promote the high-quality development of soil and water conservation in the new era.
Youyu county in the northwestern border of Shanxi was once one of the counties with the most serious soil erosion in China.
In the early days after the founding of the People's Republic of China, the entire county had less than 5.33 square kilometers of remnant forests, with a soil erosion area of 1,499 sq km and a desertification area of 1,500 sq km.
For decades, Youyu has prioritized sand control and afforestation and the improvement of water and soil.
It has coordinated and promoted the management of mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, and grasslands, and implemented projects concerning the comprehensive management of small watersheds, control of sand sources, reconstruction of slope farmlands, and water conservation.
Through comprehensive management, the county's environment has been greatly improved.
The local forest area has reached 1,133 sq km, and the forest and grass coverage rate has reached 60.9 percent. A total of 955 sq km of land suffering from soil erosion and 90 percent of desertification area in the county have been treated.
In addition, the sand content of local surface runoff and rivers has been reduced by 60 percent before afforestation efforts began.