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With an area of about 13,900 square kilometers, Kubuqi Desert that stretches across Hanggin Banner, Dalad Banner and Jungar Banner of Ordos, Inner Mongolia, is hailed as the 7th largest desert in China. The Hanggin Banner located in the hinterland of Kubuqi Desert, once the well-known poverty-stricken county, has finally achieved its goal of “people shaking off poverty and the Banner picking off the cap of poverty”, and officially exited from the list of poverty-stricken counties at the autonomous region level.

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Based on its abundant Salix mongolica resources and scientific and technological strength, Ordos has successfully explored a desertification control road that integrates desertification control and development of sand industry.

The Salix mongolica timber-oriented production project uses the abundant Salix mongolica resources in Ordos and its physiological property of stubble rejuvenation, and relies on the manufacturing and equipment technology of the timber-oriented Salix mongolica provided by the Tianjin Research Institute for Advanced Equipment of Tsinghua University. The green modified Salix mongolica timber-oriented production base with a capacity of 500 cubic meters is to be established in three phases in 5 years with an investment of 1.5 billion yuan. In the first phase, with an investment of 440 million yuan, the Salix mongolica timber-oriented production project with an annual output of 100,000 cubic meters will be built in 2 years, and 2 Salix mongolica timber-oriented production lines with medium and high end energy-saving windows and doors and structural laminated wood as the main targeted market completed before 2017. With an investment of 530 million Yuan in each phase, the second phase and the third phase will increase the production of Salix mongolica recombinant by 200,000 cubic meters each phase, focus on developing the market for green building structure profiles, expand the market application of new materials in high-end manufacturing industry, such as high-speed railway and ships, so as to build a national sand industry demonstration base with an area of 100,000 to 300,000 mu. From Salix mongolica to wood profiles, the ecological chain to the biological chain, product chain to the industrial chain, Salix mongolica has successfully completed two huge leaps to become a “green bank” for Ordos. With the Salix mongolica industry getting bigger and bigger, Ordos has successfully stepped on a road to new ecological construction and industrialization development with “increases in desert afforestation, value of resources, enterprise efficiency, income of farmers and herdsmen, and the taxes revenue of government”. (Forestry.gov.cn - Inner Mongolia daily)

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During many years of desertification control and prevention, Linze County of Gansu Province, has gradually explored a desertification control model that combines desertification prevention with development of sand industry, which is of great reference to desertification areas.

Linze County, Gansu, adopts the policy of “the planter being the owner, independent management and benefit kept to the owner” in the process of wind and desertification control to energetically revitalize the desert resources and guide the rational circulation of forests, trees and woodlands. Linze encourages and supports enterprises, household farms, cooperatives, large households and other new management entities to participate in desertification control and sand industry development, through lease contract, farmers’ self-management, assignment, and joint stock cooperation, and other forms, so as to strive to develop the understory forest economy. The county combines the control of desertified land with the development of sand industry, and involves science and technology throughout the entire process of desertification control and construction by strengthening cooperation with scientific research institutes, and vigorously developes Cistanche deserticola, featured cultivation, economic trees and fruit, and other industries, realizing the transformation from sand prevention and sand fixing to the development of sand industry, and building up a road of “ecologicalization of industrial development and industrialization of ecological construction”. (Forestry.gov.cn - Gansu Farmers Daily)

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Since the Beijing-Tianjin sandstorm source control project started 15 years ago, the total area of desertified land in Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Beijing, and Tianjin has decreased by 1.163 million hectares, and the sand blowing weather in Beijing and Tianjin sandstorm source area showed a decreasing trend. In general, the expansion of desertified land has been curbed, and the ecological environment around Beijing has been significantly improved.

With Huangyangtan as an example, the Beijing-Tianjin sandstorm source control project desertification prevention and control mode demands a reasonable layout of tree species that requires the combination of trees, shrubs and weeds, mix-planting of coniferous and broad-leaved trees, balance of economic forest and ecological forest, as well as priority to sand-born tree species with consideration of varieties and colors. The method of “blocking the hole, drawing up the grid and covering the quilt” summed up by the foresters has been adopted, which means that a windbreak wide forest belt and a forest net are to be built along the river, a grid-shaped biological sand barrier put up in the flowing sand dunes to cultivate sandy plants, and shade trees are planted along the road in the project area.

Beijing-Tianjin sandstorm source control project combines “treatment”, “utilization” and “prevention”. “First treating then selling”, “contracting for treatment after renting to the company”, and other patterns have been adopted while treating and preventing desertification, so as to strengthen industrial development in the sand area and achieve positive interaction and coordinated development between ecological construction and industrial development. (Forestry.gov.cn - Hebei News Network)

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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 140 thousand mu 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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