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Yanchi County of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region has built up a Green Great Wall by returning farmland to forests, banning grazing, as well as natural forest protection projects, which has not only solved the employment of a large number of peasants, but also safeguarded the harmony and stability in forest areas, while Yanchi County forest coverage and vegetation coverage has reached 31% and 70%, respectively, and the annual sand blowing weather has been reduced from 54 times 10 years ago to the present 9 times, bringing about the historic shift of “human advancing while the sand retreating”.

Yanchi, once swamped in yellow sand, now has become an oasis in desert. In November 2002, Yanchi County took the lead in implementing ban on grazing in Ningxia, and increased investment in desertification prevention and control. With various funds, the county found out the effective anti-desertification measures and the three “sand dragons” from south to north in Yanchi County were locked up gradually by undertaking afforestation, returning farmland to forestry, grazing prohibition, natural forest protection and other projects, thus a natural green barrier has taken shape.

Sand prevention and control has not only transformed Yanchi County from a sand-raging place into a “green homeland”, but also promoted the development of the local ecotourism industry. The Haba Lake Nature Reserve, for example, has become an important tourist attraction in Ningxia. Meanwhile, the county is also planning to invest 120 million yuan in the ecological construction of the Great Wall tourist belt in 5 years. A planned area of 9,333 ha inside and outside the Great Wall will be afforested, and the ancient Great Wall in Yanchi will be built into an ecological and cultural tourist attraction integrating “ancient Great Wall viewing, cultural exhibition, ecological touring, patriotic education”, so that the county, once the Great Wall Museum sleeping in the sand, will turn into the green ancient Great Wall belt in Western China. (Forestry.gov.cn - Ningxia Daily)

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A glimpse of grassland in Yanchi County

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Landscape of the third phase afforestation project in North Yanchi County

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 Haba Lake Tourist Area

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Haba Lake Tourist Area

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