Green Belt for Desert Railway Built

China has kicked off a three-phase project to build a green belt for the railway on the Taklimakan Desert, the second largest moving desert in the world.

An official in charge of the project said that in the first phase of the project, trees will be planted along a 30.8 kilometer- section of the desert railway, which is 552 kilometers long.

The official said that the 1.3 million saplings for the first phase project, to be started next spring, are now ready.

The Taklimakan Desert railway, completed in 1995, and the world 's longest railway running through a desert, is important for the transportation of petroleum and gas from the Tarim Basin and for promoting economic development in the southern part of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwest China.

Chinese scientists have spent years selecting plants that are adaptable to the desert environment, and they have built a pilot project, a 6.3-kilometer-long forest shelter, along the railway.

They said their pilot project has attracted corsac fox, fawncolored fox and a dozen kinds of birds.

(People’s Daily 12/04/2000)