The Chinese way to turn desert into fertile land

Located in northern China’s Hebei Province, Saihanba was once a royal hunting ground thanks to its cool summer weather and proximity to Beijing.

Saihanba was turned into a desert by the end of the Qing Dynasty due to forest fires, deforestation and constant wars. Desertification was also accelerated by the strong winds from the north.

The expansion of the desert also led to Beijing grappling with decades of sandstorms, which threatened the capital’s environment.

Over 350 foresters were first sent to the region to fight the desertification as early as the 1960s.

While Saihanba was a wasteland, the foresters had to build shelters and plant crops for themselves.

After 55 years of efforts by three generation of foresters, forest cover rate was increased from 11.4 percent to 80 percent.

The reclaimed landscape currently supplies some 137 million cubic meters of clean water to Beijing.

Saihanba is often called “the Green Lung of north China”.

How to turn desert into fertile land? The answer is: determination, persistence and dedication.

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