June 16, 2004
On June 16, the Beijing Municipal Forestry Bureau announced that 66,700 hectares of trees have now been planted in the soil of the Beijing-Tianjin Wind-born Sand Management Area. This “Green Great Wall” is estimated to absorb 15,000,000 tons of wind-born sand annually; sand that seriously degrades Beijing’s air quality. In order to improve ecological screening, Beijing plans to invest a further RMB 240 million in planting another 7,333hectares of trees on barren land and creating another 1,333 hectares of forested areas via demolition measures.
In order to promote the prevention of wind-born sand and stimulate the creation of projects to manage its effects, Beijing has promulgated new measures allowing differing economic sectors to purchase usage rights for degraded lands. These measures extend to permitting the implementation of management and exploitation plans, along with the inheritance and transfer of ownership. These measures are expected to manage and exploit 20,000 hectares of degraded land and regenerate 68,700 hectares of woodland in degraded areas by 2008. As a consequence, it is hoped that Beijing can build a robust “net” of agriculture and forested areas to manage and control the damaging effects of wind-born sand.