Xu Xinsheng, from Xining, the provincial capital of Qinghai, was overjoyed when he heard the local government was going to create more forests in the region.
"As a highland city, Xining has fewer trees than other cities in eastern regions," the 71-year-old said, "the projects will give us cleaner air."
Authorities in Xining will spend about 50 million yuan ($7 million) to develop more than 1,300 hectares of forest on Da'nanshan Mountain in the southern suburb of the city.
They will also plant trees along 118 km of a road, construct two ecological parks and revitalize barren regions on the mountain, He Can, director of the city's garden and forest administration bureau, said.
"Creating better living conditions for our residents is one of our key jobs and we will continue our efforts to pursue our ecological plans for the mountain," He said.
The Da'nanshan Mountain project plans to cover 105 sq km of the highland with trees and grass. It will be carried out in two phases, with the first, involving 48 sq km, scheduled for completion this year.
"When the project started in 2005, we worried if such a large project could be carried out properly," Gao Xiaoyan, another resident, said.
"Now we see progress every year and the improvements to the environment."
The local government is also paying attention to urban areas, Wang Ping, deputy mayor of the city, said.
Twenty gardens and green spaces have been marked for development this year, he said.
The green drive will also benefit wild animals in the province, with the Qinghai Wildlife Rescue and Breeding Center completed by the end of the year, officials have said.
The center, costing 120 million yuan, is being built both for the protection of wild animals as well as for sightseeing.
"The center can both better protect the animals and promote local residents' awareness of wild animal protection," Zheng Jie, deputy director of Qinghai provincial forestry administration, said.
(China Daily February 20, 2008)