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发布时间:2023-01-16 | 来源:当代中国与世界研究院







Saihanba: Environmental Restoration

Saihanba is a Mongolian word meaning "beautiful mountain ridges and source of water." It is located on the plateau in north Hebei Province. In the past, Saihanba had plenty of water and lush pastures, dense forests and abundant wildlife. It was part of the royal hunting ground in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

However, large-scale reclamation and excessive logging began in the 1860s. Mountain fires and wars made the situation even worse. By the early 1950s, primitive forests were nowhere to be seen, and Saihanba had become a desolate wild land with a bad climate and serious desertification.

After the People's Republic was founded in 1949, afforestation began to attract increasing government attention. In the mid-1950s, Mao Zedong made a call to the nation to turn the country green. In 1961, the Ministry of Forestry decided to build an artificial forest farm in north Hebei, and Saihanba was chosen as the site. The following year, the Saihanba mechanized forest farm was set up. A total of 127 college graduates came from across the country. At the very beginning, together with local workers, 369 pioneers engaged in planting trees on this vast land.

Struggling against the harsh conditions, strong winds, and severe cold, three generations of foresters have devoted themselves to Saihanba. After more than half a century, they have built the world's largest area of man-made forest, across an area of 75,000 hectares with a forest coverage of 80 percent, which has effectively stopped the southward expansion of the desert in the north.

To balance economic development and environmental protection, the forest farm has adopted various measures. These include reinforcing management to ensure security of forest resources and significant ecological benefits, using self-raised funds and advanced technology to green the barren mountains and sandy land, improving the industrial structure, reducing lumber cutting quotas, and developing forest tourism, sapling nursery, and forest carbon sink projects. These efforts have turned the forests into a green bank that helps sustain the farm's further production, improve the workers' lives, and help the local people escape poverty.

When inspecting Saihanba in August 2021, Xi Jinping said that the forest farm's history is a saga of arduous endeavor. The workers have forged a spirit of staying true to their original mission, hard work and enterprise, and pursuing green development. They have played an exemplary role in national eco-environmental conservation.

By building a huge sea of man-made forest, Saihanba has set an example in eco-environmental conservation. The workers have won the Champions of the Earth Award, the UN's highest honor for environmental protection, and the farm has become a national model of poverty alleviation.

The experience of Saihanba proves that natural ecosystems can have their vulnerable and degraded areas restored, and that sandy land and barren mountains can become lush after persistent and science-based efforts. Green development can turn environmental strength into economic strength, and turn green mountains into mountains of gold.