Saihanba is an artificial forest that stretches to the horizon with an area of 20,000 km², it is the largest in the world in its category and is home to more than 1,000 plant species and hundreds of animals.
Decades ago it was a desert area of barren land and was known for its sandstorms. From 1962 began its transformation which took decades to become a wonderful forest.
China is the world’s largest emitter of CO2 and has been instructed internationally to achieve zero emissions by 2060 in order to address climate change.
The country is committed to this and is planning several similar forests that also contribute to its “green” economic activities. China wants to position itself as an ecological civilization that protects and improves the environment.
The largest artificial forest in the world
Saihanba was not always a desert area, before that it was home to abundant forest resources, lush vegetation and great biodiversity, but constant deforestation and wars made the area unsuitable for life at the end of the dynasty. Qing (1644-1911).
In the absence of a forest barrier, sandstorms have become more frequent, damaging cities such as Beijing, Tianjin and other cities in northern China. In 1962, the forest administration took the decision to establish the Saihanba Mechanical Forest Farm with 369 people, mostly young people, with skills in tree planting.
The first group of Saihanba planters faced many adversities in a cold, windy and dry environment and with rudimentary work equipment. They could not make the planted trees prosper.
But after the joint efforts of three generations, Saihanba was able to be restored and regain its biodiversity. Its forest cover has increased from 11.4% to 80% and it is able to conserve and purify 137 million cubic meters of water each year.
This story about the forests of Saihamba coined a concept known as “the spirit of Saihanba” which refers to hard work, adversity and bold innovation.
In 2017, the forest community of Saihanba received the Champions of the Earth honor for their efforts and achievements in transforming a degraded land into a green paradise.
Saihamba currently, in addition to having an exuberant biodiversity, is visited by many tourists who come to admire its beauty.