Sichuan introduces scenic cypress belt formed over millennia

By Liu Sitong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 26, 2018

A group of 25 overseas Chinese media outlets from 15 countries and regions including the US, Canada, Australia, Russia and Italy were introduced to the soothing view of ancient cypresses planted along the historic road system connecting Sichuan to outside world.

The media delegation toured the Cuiyunlang section of the ancient road accessibility system, known as Shu Dao, meaning highway system of Sichuan, on March 23.

Overseas Chinese media are invited to tour the umbrageous Cuiyunlang section in Jian’ge county, Guangyuan city of the ancient road system that links from Sichuan to outside on March 23. [Photo/]


Coming out of a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) poem, Cuiyunlang is an artistic expression of a part of the extensive Shu Dao system, lined by verdant plants, that takes Jian’ge ancient town in Guangyuan city as the center.


According to Jian'ge county's forestation bureau, the 7900 cypresses still growing along the 151-kilometer ancient road path within the county were planted more than 2,000 years ago during Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), with the oldest being 2,300 years old.

Other major or smaller-scale tree planting movements were mobilized during different dynasties throughout history. In Song Dynasty, Emperor Renzong issued an imperial decree in 1025 mandating tree planting efforts covering the entire Shu Dao system linking from Sichuan to the neighboring Shaanxi province.

The massive planting works in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) were said to have planted hundreds of thousands of trees, mainly along the Jian’ge section of Shu Dao, according to Qiao Bo, a local government official in the following Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), who was impressed by the scene of the winding green belt of lush cypresses along the road to write a poem with the title Cuiyunlang to remember it, hence the namesake for the scenic road section.


From Qin to Qing dynasty, different imperial courts issued various orders and regulations to manage and protect the shade trees. In Ming Dynasty, the conditions of shade tree planting and road renovation were important criteria for evaluating local government officials’ performance.

Casting cool shade for travelers and sightseers, the ancient cypresses planted more than 2,000 years ago line the Cuiyunlang section of the ancient road system known as Shu Dao extending from Sichuan to the neighboring Shaanxi province. [Photo/]


In 1935 the ancient trees suffered severe damage during the construction of the Sichuan-Shaanxi Highway, which distressed the local residents.


Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, the Jian’ge government has launched numerous protective measures for the precious ancient cypresses, documenting the trees, preventing the ones in bad conditions from withering and dying, issuing management guidelines and assembling the general public annually to conduct disease prevention and pests control works and plant seedlings.

Thanks to the continued shade tree planting and maintenance works through the ancient imperial eras to modern day China, the Cuiyunlang section of Shu Dao system has been able to present luxuriant scenes along its path, offering cool shade for travelers and sightseers, and providing a vivid example of the ancient Chinese wisdom of balancing the socioeconomic development and the preservation of natural environment. 

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