|Photo taken on Feb. 23, 2021, shows people of Li ethnic group in Pai’an village, Chahe township, Changjiang Li autonomous county, south China’s Hainan province, working in paddy fields. (People’s Daily Online/Meng Zhongde)|
China accounts for 25 percent of the global net increase in leaf area in the past nearly 20 years, leading the world in greening effort, and the country’s forest coverage rate has increased from 12 percent in early 1980s to 23.04 percent today, according to data.
Forty years ago, China’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC), passed a resolution on carrying out a public voluntary tree-planting campaign, a nationwide event that has been participated in and promoted by governments at all levels and in both urban and rural areas.
Tao Fengjiao, a fisherwoman in Changjiang Li autonomous county, south China’s Hainan province, has planted 5.88 million trees in quicksand with her female friends since 1992. The forests they have created cover an area of 33,800 mu (about 2,253 hectares), and have given a brand new look to the island province of Hainan.
On the Saihanba mechanical forest farm in north China’s Hebei province, three generations of residents covered 1.12 million mu of wasteland with green trees.
In the Greater Khingan Range in north China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, 16,000 forestry workers have changed their job from cutting down trees to protecting trees.
Many more areas in China, including Yulin city of northwest China’s Shaanxi province, Youyu county of north China’s Shanxi province, and Minqin county of northwest China’s Gansu province, are seeing more and more shelter forests be created and vegetated areas get better protection, while the “Green Great Wall of China”, the country’s Three-North Shelterbelt Forest Program designed to improve the environment in the Northwest, North and Northeast China, continues to extend across the country.
From finding the suitable tree species to preparing trees for inclement weather, changing people’s traditional views about exploitation, and protecting the growing environment of seedlings, Chinese people’s understanding of the relationship between human and nature has deepened constantly.
China has realized profoundly that it needs to correctly understand and handle the relationship between economic development and environmental protection, and should neither follow the way of developing economy at the cost of the environment nor slow down economic development for fear of environmental pollution.
As it turned out, afforestation is a wise decision of the country, as it has not only improved the natural environment, but also benefited the well-being of the Chinese people.
Many forestry workers, farmers, and herdsmen in the country have enjoyed significant improvement in their living standards after securing stable incomes, thanks to China’s endeavors to reduce poverty through the development of local industries and its ecological poverty-relief programs.
By developing ecological tourism, China’s seventh largest desert, Kubuqi Desert located in Ordos city of China’s Inner Mongolia, has seen a great number of visitors and thriving ecological industry, which have brought considerable economic benefits to the local people.
The Saihanba mechanical forest farm, where yellow sand could block out the sun and birds couldn’t find a single tree to rest on in the past, is now covered with boundless forests and witnessing an endless stream of visitors. The development of green and ecological industries of the locality has helped nearly 40,000 people embark on a path to a more prosperous life.
China’s remarkable achievements in promoting afforestation and miracles in economic development have fully demonstrated that guided by the philosophy of green development, the country has made ecological and environmental protection, economic development, as well as improvement in people’s livelihood inseparably interconnected with one another and supplement one another.
China aims to make new progress in building an ecological civilization, cut the energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) and its carbon dioxide emissions by 13.5 percent and 18 percent, respectively, continue to reduce the total amount of emissions of major pollutants, and raise its forest coverage rate to 24.1 percent during its 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).
Such specific goals have pointed the way for the country’s endeavor to a kind of modernization that promotes harmonious coexistence of man and nature.
It’s believed that by surmounting difficulties and continuing to work hard, the country will not only realize its dream of building a beautiful China, but bring greater fruits to its people.