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Baijitan nature reserve sees green recovery due to dedicated efforts

By Chen Meiling | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-07 09:20

At 63 years old, Wang Youde has worked for the forestation cause his whole life, and is still promoting the recovery of the natural landscape today.

After he retired in 2014, the former director of the of Ningxia Lingwu Baijitan National Nature Reserve Management Bureau established a fund for desertification control, with which he has launched many non-profit activities that encourage local citizens' participation.

"There are still quite a few difficulties to deal with in desertification control, which need consistent public attention," Wang said.

Having worked at the grassroots level for more than 30 years, Wang had many titles: senior engineer, representative to the National People's Congress and a model worker.

Baijitan nature reserve sees green recovery due to dedicated efforts

When he was director of the reserve, Wang oversaw the planting of a total of 38,670 hectares of wind prevention and sand fixation areas in the Baijitan National Nature Reserve in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region. This has helped to control 66,667 hectares of quicksand.

The woods have formed a wall to block the Maowusu desert from expanding south or west.

Statistics showed the formerly barren Baijitan nature reserve now has 40.6 percent green coverage.

However, Wang refused to comment on his contribution.

"Let others do the commenting. For me, overcoming desertification is my mission," he said.

In the late 1990s, Wang had to plant trees on dry sand dunes, which he said was the hardest job to deal with.

Through a project co-launched with Japanese experts, he undertook three scientific investigations of Baijitan to better understand the resources and changes that would be necessary to improve the area.

He found that Mongolian pine and another nine plants would be suitable for surviving the harsh desert climate.

Wang dug into the research of the biological and ecological characteristics of the plants, figuring out how to carry out artificial breeding and planting.

The number of Mongolian pine trees in the reserve grew to 1.5 million, covering an area of 11.3 square kilometers. In the dry sand dune region, the desert has now retreated 20 kilometers.

Wang's planting model was promoted among the landscape engineering projects in local cities' rural and urban areas.

Also formerly the Party chief of the Baijitan reserve's management bureau, Wang put forward a system to raise the sense of responsibility for desertification control among employees and villagers.

Staff members of the management bureau would be allocated desert areas for three years, and be responsible for the management, planting, tree survival rate and income-cost balance in their area.

People who exceeded the stated goals would be awarded, while people who underperformed would face penalties.

He put forward a comprehensive method of desertification control, which stipulated that the outskirts of the desert should be planted with shrubs, while the highway, main canal and fruit gardens should feature a high density of various plants with broad leaves, as farming fields and nurseries could be built under their protection.

The related planting, farming and breeding industries bring in income of up to 10 million yuan ($1.52 million) for local people every year.

Baijitan has been designated an educational base for ecological civilization. Wang is continuing to work on his fund to help to make Ningxia a more beautiful place.

 Baijitan nature reserve sees green recovery due to dedicated efforts

Wang Youde (center), former director of the Ningxia Lingwu Baijitan National Nature Reserve Management Bureau, instructs workers on how to stabilize sand.Provided To China Daily

(China Daily 09/07/2017 page12)

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