The first phase of the forestation project along the Tarim Desert Highway in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has been completed, with a stretch of 180-kilometer long "green wall" taking shape, according to a project official.
The forestation project, to build a total 446-km long and 74-m wide green wall, started in August 2003 to protect the desert highway from the intrusion of sand.
Eighty-nine percent of the desert highway, which was built in 1995, is located in a quicksand area.
Some 20 million trees will have been planted along the desert highway when the whole forestation project is completed in 2005.
In the second half of this year, more than 130 hectares of broomrape, a rare-breed plant used only in Chinese medicine, will be planted.
The forestation project involves an investment of approximately 220 million yuan (about US$26.5 million), with an appropriation of 100 million (some US$12 million) from the central government.
(Xinhua News Agency April 29, 2004)