More than 100 people went to the areas near Tianchi Lakein northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region during the May Day holidays to plant trees.
The local government is launching a large-scale artificial afforestation move in the region, as part of a comprehensive project to check the shrinkage of the lake.
Tourists also joined the ranks of tree planting.
"In my imagination, Tianchi is like a fairyland. I couldn't believe it's threatened by ecological environment deteriorating now. We might be only able to see the beauty of the lake in our imagination in the future if we don't do something," said a tourist from south China's Guangdong Province, who declined to tell his name.
Tianchi, dubbed "the Pearl of the Tianshan Ranges", covers an area of 4.9 sq km and abounds in wildlife and other natural resources. But in the past decade, farming, tourism and the lumber trade, among others, have resulted in deforestation and reduced grassland, and ensuing floods and landslides, causing the shrinkage of the lake.
The lake's southern bank is now 18 meters closer to the center of the lake than in 1992 and its depth has dropped to 80 meters from 100 meters 10 years ago. An area of nearly seven hectares of grassland in the southern bank is now denuded.
To improve the ecological environment in the lake vicinity, the local government plans to adopt a comprehensive project, including building a water diversion project in the upper reaches to decrease silt flow, sealing the mountain forest and banning depasturing, and persuading herdsmen living in the upper reaches of the lake to move down the mountain.
(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2004)