Mon, 15 Aug 2022

© Provided by Xinhua

SHIJIAZHUANG, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Bathed in summer sunlight, Niu Yuzhu, 52, starts his daily patrol of a forest farm in Zhuolu County, north China's Hebei Province.

In addition to his patrol work, Niu has taken on other duties as the farm's "forest chief," including formulating forest management and protection plans, mobilizing locals to protect trees, and promoting the implementation of protection measures.

To guard the green ecological barrier of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Hebei has carried out large-scale scientific afforestation. Forest protection has become a vital mission for Zhuolu, which is rich in woodland resources.

Approximately 10,000 hectares of forests distributed across 13 townships in Zhuolu fall under the management and protection area of the forest farm where Niu works.

"Four forest management and protection sites have been established and more than 100 forest rangers have been employed," Niu said.

He is one of 139,828 forest chiefs appointed by Hebei, amid China's continuous efforts to protect its forests and grasslands.

"After the implementation of the 'forest chief' scheme, our roles and responsibilities were clearly defined. We divide the forest and grassland resources into various grids that are managed by forest chiefs, rangers and law enforcement personnel to ensure that every plot of land can be taken care of," said Wang Zhong, deputy head of the Forestry and Grassland Bureau of Hebei Province.

These efforts have borne fruit. By the end of 2021, Hebei's forested area totaled approximately 6.7 million hectares, and the province boasted a forest coverage rate of 35.3 percent, up from 31 percent in 2015.

In May, female and nestling Baer's pochards were observed in Hebei's Baiyangdian Lake for the first time, proving that the Baiyangdian wetlands have become a breeding ground for these critically endangered ducks.

"Baer's pochards require a high-quality ecological environment. Their arrival is strong proof that the ecological environment of Baiyangdian Lake has improved," said Yang Song, deputy director of the planning and construction bureau of the Xiong'an New Area.

Hebei's significant ecological progress is a high point in China's comprehensive implementation of its "forest chief" scheme, according to Zhang Tao, an official from Hebei's Forestry and Grassland Bureau.

Over a year ago, China issued a guideline to implement the "forest chief" scheme, and urged that the scheme will be rolled out nationwide by June 2022. Achieving this goal as scheduled, the country has appointed nearly 1.2 million forest chiefs to date.

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