SHANXI, August 30, -- “It's impossible to support my family on the meager income I get from farming. The land is barren, yielding no more than a few hundred kilos,” said Ju Jianhua, who lives in Shixia Town and is a member of his village's afforestation cooperative. “During slack farming seasons the cooperative organizes us to plant trees. We're all willing, because that way we can earn us as much as 120 yuan a day – double what I get from farming.”

Building Zuoquan's ecology, therefore, is also a way of helping people out of poverty, hence the so-called “a battlefield for two campaigns.” JuWeirong, director of the Forestry Bureau of Zuoquan County explained that the cooperatives have built a platform for farmers' participation. “We have created a mechanism encompassing afforestation projects, cooperatives, and impoverished families – a model that gives consideration to both poverty reduction and ecological construction,” Ju said.

A total of 1,725 people from 626 poverty-stricken households in Zuoquan have joined afforestation cooperatives. Their living standards are improving in tandem with the county's environment.

Forest Science_and_Education-8.30_Battlefield_for_2_campaigns_greener_mountains_and_richer_farmers

Afforested areas around Shixia, Tongyu, and Matian towns cover about 2,887 hectares. The project, with an investment of RMB 34.64 million, has benefited 1,725 people in 626 poverty-stricken households.