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Province's mountains a top tourist attraction
Time: 10 01,2021      Source: Eshanxi-English

Thanks to an ecological recovery project, the mountains in Xiangfen county are now covered with lush forests. Li Xianjun / For China Daily

Featuring lush forests and clear waters,the Taihang Mountains,which stretch more than 400 kilometers in the east of Shanxi,have become one of the province's top attractions.

Nowadays the scenery represents a sharp contrast to what it was decades ago,when the region was basically composed of barren rocky mountains.

It was through the efforts of forestry scientists to improve the local environment that the changes began.

"When seeing the harsh environment decades ago,even some experts from the rest of country said it might be in vain to'green'this mountainous region of Taihang,"recalled Chang Jianguo,an official and researcher at the Shanxi Academy of Forestry Sciences.

"But as native forestry researchers in Shanxi,we knew the mountains had been covered by lush vegetation in certain periods in history and we believed we could find solutions to restore the environment,"he added.

Scientists from the academy began to build a vegetation recovery base on the dry,rocky mountains near Liujiacun village in Pingshun county about 40 years ago.

Over the decades,scientists cultivated some breeds out of local plant species that were suitable for growing in dry,hilly environments.

The academy reaped initial success in their experiment,and another 11 research institutions later joined this program.They tried to replicate the Liujiacun experience across the Taihang Mountains and the rest of Shanxi.

Their research into vegetation recovery has helped to control soil erosion and stabilize sandy soil to prevent sandstorms.This has greatly contributed to the overall improvement of the natural environment.

Statistics from the Shanxi Forestry and Grassland Bureau show that the province's total forestry area reached 3.63 million hectares by the end of 2019.That accounted for 23.18 percent of Shanxi's total land area,a ratio surpassing the national average for the first time on record.

In addition to the local researchers and forestry workers,modern technologies are playing an increasingly important role in taking care of Shanxi's forests.

At various levels,Shanxi's forestry administrations are using such technologies as satellite remote sensing,big data,cloud computing and drones in the management of forests.

"The biggest threat to forests is fire,"said Wang Min,an official at the Guandishan forestry administration bureau in Wenshui county."To improve the efficiency of fire prevention and control,we have developed a smart forestry management system."

The system features a smart operational center that is connected to 11 monitoring sites with a 5G network.

"Once fire is detected by a monitoring site,the alarm will ring at the operational center and the images of a fire's location will be shown on the display immediately,"Wang said."This allows us to respond to an emergency very quickly."

He added that the system can be used to detect damage caused by insects.

According to the Shanxi Forestry and Grassland Bureau,the occurrence of fire in Shanxi's forests has decreased steadily in recent years,thanks to the use of new and high technologies.

Bureau officials said the occurrence of fire now stands at a very low rate of less than 0.05 percent.

Guo Yanjie contributed to this story.

By Yuan Shenggao



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