Forestry officials offer new ways to green the west


Forestry authorities plan to popularize 100 ways of replanting western China to preserve its trees and grasses as the nation develops the largely barren and infertile region.

To perfect its reforestation methods, the State Forestry Administration will use new science, such as dune fortification and different ways of configuring trees and grasses.

Many trees and grasses now planted are likely to die early because of severe drought, desertification and the shortage of species suitable for the region's semi-arid climate, Forestry Administration experts said in their latest reports.

"Selected from the successful afforestation experiences of technicians and farmers who have planted trees and grasses for decades in parts of western China with fragile environments, these (new) modes have been very ripe for locals to adopt," said a State Forestry Administration report released yesterday.

Western China is home to more than 20 per cent of the country's 1.2 billion-plus people. They live on 5.4 million square kilometres of land that is sometimes infertile and without water. The west includes upper reaches of the Yangtze River, upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River and the sandy, windy northwest.

The plant stabilization methods being popularized will dovetail with regional climates and geography. Some afforestation methods apply to more than one part of the west.

Afforestation in particular would put grass or trees on previously farmed slopes and close hillsides to grazing and firewood gathering. (Grain would also be offered to farmers, who would be expected to help in reforestation work.)

A regional case study: In desert areas, a farming household can control up to 6.7 hectares of waste sand in three to five years by using shallow ground water to plant or keep dunes from blowing away.

The controlled sand can be used for farming and grazing, the administration experts say.

Administration officials say the new techniques can increase tree survival by 20 per cent and grass survival 30 per cent. Growth rates would be up 15 per cent.

(China Daily)

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