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After precarious work, trees transform rocky faces

By Deng Rui and Tan Yingzi in Chongqing | | Updated: 2022-05-26 17:36
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Four years ago, a group of tree planters carrying saplings worked precariously on steep, rocky slopes in Chongqing's Wuxi county. More than 10,000 young trees were planted on 71 hectares in Ningchang Ancient Town. [Photo provided to]

Four years ago, a group of workers in Chongqing's Wuxi county worked precariously on steep barren cliffs to plant tree saplings. Today, they're glad to see that the mountains have been transformed.

Their successful ecological endeavor has thrust the group's leader, Lin Yunxi, 65, into the spotlight.

Lin was born in Wuxi's Xiabao township in 1956 and worked as a farmer. But he accumulated expertise in tree planting under the local forestry bureau since he was a young man in the 1970s.

In 1996, he became a contract worker of the bureau and began leading local farmers to plant trees.

The county's Ningchang Ancient Town, one of China's earliest sites for making salt, has a history of more than 4,000 years and is regarded as the cradle of ancient human civilization in the Three Gorges area.

But rocky desertification came over the years. Chen Hui from the ecological restoration department of the local forestry bureau said the inhabitants used trees as fuel for boiling water from a the natural brine spring to extract the salt. Later, in the industrial age, coal was used. Tremendous amounts of soil in the mountains were consumed.

"Natural recovery became almost impossible," Chen said.

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