Dubbed the country's "Green Great Wall" the Sanbei Forest
Shelter project which includes north, northeast and northwest China
has made a significant contribution to improving and conserving the
ecological environment in these areas since it got underway 28
As a result of the project 25.07 million hectares of trees were
planted which form a forest belt extending for more than 4,000
kilometers in the Sanbei areas, explained the State Forest
Administration (SFA) on Sunday.
As a result more than 20 percent of the land affected by
desertification in the project zone has been brought under control
and soil erosion has been controlled in over 40 percent of the
areas traditionally affected by erosion, said the SFA.
The forest shelter protects 20 million hectares of farmland from
winds and sand storms and assisted raise the grain output by 11
million tons annually.
Since 1978 trees have been planted in 551 counties of 13
provincial-level regions in northern, northeastern and northwestern
China to form a long green shield to protect against
The eco-conservation project covers a total area of 4.069
million square kilometers which is 42.4 percent of China's total
land area. In 2003 it was included in the Guinness Book of World
Records as the world's largest forestation project.
The Sanbei area has 1.49 million square kilometers of desert and
gobi accounting for 98 percent of the country's total. It's
estimated that the sandstorms cause an economic loss of 4.5 billion
yuan (US$562.5 billion) in these areas annually.
However, the situation is now improving thanks to the forest
More than one million hectares of trees have been planted to
assist conserve water resources within the project areas helping to
increase water resources by 330 million tons annually. A total of
912,000 hectares of firewood type trees have also been planted
which produce more than 20 million tons of firewood annually for
six million farming households. These trees also produce over 20
million tons of fresh and dried fruits annually which bring profits
of 20 million yuan (US$2.5 million) to local people.
The forest shelter project will also assist improve the
ecological environment of 30 million hectares of grassland and
raise the fodder grass output by 4.45 million tons annually.
(Xinhua News Agency July 10, 2006)