Experts from China and the United States have jointly built a "safety belt" for the famous Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes in northwest China's Gansu Province against sand attacks.
Based on their research on the climatic, natural and geological conditions and local water resources in the Dunhuang area in the past decade, experts selected plants adaptable to local conditions and developed a drop irrigation system to build the safety belt.
The Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang, popularly known as the Thousand Buddha Caves, were carved out of the rocks stretching about 1,600 meters along the eastern side of the Mingsha (Sand Singing) Hill, 25 km southeast of the Dunhuang proper.
The 700 plus caves in the area were regarded as the world's largest stone cave library for its enormous preservation of Buddhist frescos, statues and sutras.
Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes were listed as a state level relic by the State Council in 1961. In 1987, they were included in the World Heritage List by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Two forest shelter belts, two kilometers long and 12 meters and 14 meters wide, respectively, have been built at the foot of the Mingsha Hill.
The project recently passed an appraisal by Chinese forestry experts.
(People's Daily 11/30/2000)