Inner Mongolia launches tree-planting campaign to tame desertification

By Wu Yong, People’s Daily
As temperature rises, more and more places are joining China’s afforestation efforts.
This year, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region is tasked with planting 12.97 million mu, or 864,700 hectares of forests and one million hectares of grass, according to a recent teleconference on forestry and grassland work in the region.
Wang Tianli is the deputy director of the agricultural and animal husbandry bureau of Qingshan district, Baotou in the autonomous region, who has been contacting landscaping companies and helping them restart work as coronavirus cases plummet these days.
Wang was previously assigned to assist local epidemic prevention and control, and returned to his own work on Feb. 21, since when he has been kept busy as the district plans to carry out ecological restoration for 400 hectares of land this year on the southern slope of the Qingshan Mountains.
According to him, the bureau is also planning to tend 6.65 million saplings and 4,507 hectares of forests it had planted.
Inner Mongolia occupies an important position in China’s ecological system, thus facing arduous tasks of ecological construction. Last year, the autonomous region planted 908,700 hectares of forests and 2.14 million hectares of grass, which went beyond its annual targets.
This year, Inner Mongolia will carry out a survey on the current status of grassland ecology, and piloting the national programs of ecological restoration of degraded grasslands and policy-based grassland insurance.
It will also take efforts to make the countryside greener and more beautiful, plant trees, flowers and grass on suitable land, and create more farmland shelter forests in rural areas. By doing so, the region aims to afforest 66,700 hectares of land, cover over 30 percent of its villages with vegetation, and construct 1,000 green and beautiful demonstration villages, as well as more than 300 national forest villages.
Thanks to China’s constant afforestation efforts, the country’s forest area and forest stock have both registered growth for more than 30 consecutive years, making it the fastest-growing country in terms of forest resources.
In 2019, a total of 7.07 million hectares of forests were newly created; 7.6 million hectares of forests were taken care of; and 670,000 hectares of stock forests were planted. This year, the country plans to plant another 6.73 million hectares of forests and create 8 million hectares of forest tending area.
China has entered the best season of land greening. To coordinate virus control and work related to forest and grassland, the National Forestry and Grassland Administration recently issued a notice, requiring subordinate departments to strengthen scientific guidance, information services and communication, organize sapling growing companies to resume work and production and guarantee sufficient supply of saplings, and promote national afforestation work in an orderly manner.

Desertification control staff clear sand off the tracks on the Linhai–Ceke railway in Alashan League, north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Jan.15, 2020. Tang Zhe/People’s Daily Online

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