Program progress

In 2000, the program was focused on the pilot trials, it is an urgent program which was decided and started implementation in the same year. According to the decision by the State Council, in order to prepare for wide extension of the program, 8 key areas for treatment were identified in 4 different types of regions and 66 experiment and demonstration projects of 7 categories were identified according to actual conditions of each key area. With careful preparation by the State Forestry Administration, effective models of treatment and applied techniques were identified, laying a firm foundation for the full implementation of the program.

In 2001, the program was focused on “three bans”. Irrational grazing, firewood collection and cultivation are the main causes for land desertification in the program regions in Beijing-Tianjin region, also the key factors affecting the success of the program. Therefore, the State Forestry Administration proposed and implemented the “three bans” measure, i.e. ban the irrational grazing, firewood collection and cultivation in the program regions based on a wide range of consultations. The measure put human destruction on vegetation in the program regions under effective control, safeguarding the achievements obtained by the program. The measure was taken in other desertification regions and the effectiveness was significant.  

In 2002, focus of the program was on policy. In order to activate social forces and attract wide participation by all walks of the society in the program, the State Forestry Administration made favorable policies for the program, largely mobilizing enthusiasms of social forces to participate in the program. Currently, more than 100 enterprises participated in the program with investment.  

In 2003, documentation was given priority. The leadership of the State Forestry Administration warned that “without documentation the program will become a mess” in terms of program management, in order to keep clear about the information of investors and program achievements, file management was strengthened by allocating computers and file management software to local program management offices, providing training to local staff, standardizing file management and imposing restrict inspection system. A file system was established with card information on households, registration information on villages, data files on townships and information databases on counties.  

In 2004, program focus was placed on follow-up industries. In order to promote healthy, orderly and rapid industrial development, the State Forestry Administration issued “guidelines for sand industry development in the program areas of the sand source control program in Beijing-Tianjin region”. Meanwhile, the “rules for registration and management of commercial sand industries” was issued in the form of administrator’s order, paving the way for the development of follow-up industries of the program.    In 2005, the program was focused on tending and management of vegetation. With continual increase of program tasks, the area of vegetations in the program regions continually expanded, increasing the needs for young forests tending, forest diseases and pests control and forest fire prevention. In order to maintain and consolidate the achievement of program, at the beginning of 2005 the State Forestry Administration issued a “notice on improvement of forest tending and protection in the program regions of the sand source control program in Beijing-Tianjin region”, clarifying requirements for vegetation tending and protection.  

Up to the end of 2004, the accumulative total area of treated land by the program was 5.425 million ha, accounting for 101% of the accumulative total of the tasks allocated by the government. 3.358 million ha of them were completed by forestry projects accounting for 104% of the accumulative of the accumulative total of the tasks allocated by the government, 1.587 million ha were completed by grassland management projects accounting for 98% of the accumulative of the accumulative total of the tasks allocated by the government, 0.481 million ha were completed by integrated catchment management projects accounting for 92% of the accumulative of the accumulative total of the tasks allocated by the government, 37,053 sets of water-saving and water resources management facilities were completed accounting for 97% of the accumulative of the accumulative total of the tasks allocated by the government, and 38,080 people were relocated by ecological resettlement.

Up to the end of 2004, the total accumulative investment of the program was RMB 6,669.29 million, accounting for 87% of the total government investment for the program, of which an investment of RMB 3,463.19 million was completed by forestry projects accounting for 99% of the total accumulative government investment for forestry projects.  

Program achievements

Implementation of the program largely promoted the harmonious development of human and nature.  

1)Ecological conditions were significantly improved in the capital and surrounding areas. By large scale of plantings of forests and grasses and vegetation protection, the vegetation of forests and grasses was rapidly restored and increased in the program regions, compared with 2000, the vegetation coverage increased by about 20%, the overall ecological status started to improve in the program regions and significant improvement was achieved in some parts of the program regions. Sandy and dusty weathers appeared to reduce year after year, there were 13 time of strong wind weather in 2004 in Beijing, but only 3 of them formed sandy dust weather. The air quality was improved in comparison with that before the program, the inhalable particles in the urban area of Beijing reduced by 7.8%. Soil erosion was improved, the sediment charge into Miyun Water Reservoir reduced more than 0.1 million tons during recent 4 years.

2)Regional economic development was promoted and farmer’s income was increased. By implementation of the program, the structure of cropping and animal husbandry industries was improved, the traditional extensive cultivation of farmers and open grazing of herdsmen for a long time were changed, preliminarily realizing the transformation of production patterns. A number of high value-added industries of economic forests, high efficiency livestock and poultry farms begun to take shape. Poverty alleviation in the program regions speeded up and per capita income steadily increased. There were 16.22 million persons who directly benefited from the program. The per capita income of farmers increased by 1,080 RMB in total compared to that before 1999 when the program started. A sampling survey conducted in 5 counties/flags in the program regions in 2003 showed that the poverty population reduced by 99,400 during the past 3 years, a decrease of 13.66%. Local economy tended to develop in a good trend. According to an estimation based on some of the program regions, the contribution of the program to the increase of local finance was 11% on average.

3)Increase of public awareness of ecological protection was facilitated and implication of ecological civilization was enriched. Ecological improvement and protection has become a common sense and a voluntary action of all levels of governments, cadres and masses. The model of participation changed from “I was wanted to do” to “I want to do”. An ecological civilization atmosphere of loving green, protecting green and expanding green started to take shape. Through long time of desertification combating and program implementation, many model staffs and influential activities were produced, such as Tang Chen and Bai Junjie, model staff in national desertification combating; Aohan of Chifeng municipality, the world’s 500 best in environment protection; Zhangjiakou Municipality, the movement of green expansion for protection of Beijing-Tianjin region; Chengdde city, for the ecological industry; Wu Meng, for the desertification combating strategy of “1 step forward, 2 steps backward, and 3 steps forward again”; Xi Meng, for the strategy of “closure and migration”; and many more.