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Shanxi county goes from brown to green after forestry efforts

2020-07-17 Source:chinadaily Author: Liu Yukun and Sun Ruisheng

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A view of Youyu county in Shuozhou, Shanxi province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Youyu county, located in northwestern Shanxi province, is turning into a green oasis after years of efforts combating desertification.

To date, it has nearly 1.7 million mu (113,333 hectares) of plantation forests and about 130 million trees. In the past 70 years, the county's greening rate increased from less than 0.3 percent to 56 percent.

Zhao Shouzhong, who has been working as a forestry technician for 37 years with Youyu Nanshan Forestry Park, said he still feels incredible thinking how much Youyu has changed in the past few decades.

"When we were little, we had to light up the house even though it was daytime, because the county was always clouded with sandstorms," Zhao said.

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A view of Youyu county in Shuozhou, Shanxi province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Zhao said the then government officials planned to battle sandstorms with plantations. "But it was very hard. Planting trees was not easy due to lack of proper infrastructure like irrigating systems. Even if we succeeded in planting, it is still hard for trees to survive because the land was severely deteriorated at that time," Zhao said.

Zhao said government officials, together with forestry technicians and workers, have spared no effort in experimenting and planting trees.

Youyu's years of efforts have finally borne fruit. The survival rate of trees in Youyu grew from 50 percent in the 70s to over 85 percent today.

Youyu's greening also helped improve soil conditions. The increasingly rich soil has allowed various trees to grow successfully there. Zhao said in the past there were a few plant types, but today there are nearly 48 types of trees grown in Youyu.

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A view of Youyu county in Shuozhou, Shanxi province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

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A view of Youyu county in Shuozhou, Shanxi province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

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A view of Youyu county in Shuozhou, Shanxi province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

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A view of Youyu county in Shuozhou, Shanxi province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

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A view of Youyu county in Shuozhou, Shanxi province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

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A view of Youyu county in Shuozhou, Shanxi province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

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A view of Youyu county in Shuozhou, Shanxi province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

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Editor:Catherine