Saihanba, the mega-forest created by China to curb the desert

Saihanba is considered a miracle, having been transformed from an arid land into a lush forest through the extraordinary efforts of three generations of Chinese people.

The largest artificial forest in the world.

400 years ago, Saihanba was home to abundant forest resources and great biodiversity.

With a cool summer and lush vegetation, the area was meant to be a royal retreat.

However, deforestation and constant warfare turned the area into a desert by the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

With the disappearance of the forest barrier, sandstorms have become more frequent. To stop the sandstorms that continued to threaten or hit Beijing, Tianjin and other cities in northern China, the forest administration decided in 1962 to establish the Saihanba Mechanical Forest Farm, sending 369 foresters, for the mostly in their twenties, in the area to plant trees.

The first group of Saihanba foresters faced many challenges, equipped with only the simplest tools in the midst of extreme cold and drought.

As a result, they were unable to ensure the survival of the planted trees. However, after the joint efforts of three generations, Saihanba was restored and converted into a green paradise with forest cover that has increased from 11.4% to 80%and which can conserve and purify 137 million cubic meters of water every year.

The miraculous story of planting forests in Saihanba gives rise to the concept of the Spirit of Saihanba, which is defined as hard work, advancing through thick and thin, forging and daring.

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As one of the largest man-made plantations in the world, the forest community of Saihanba won the title of Champions of the Earth in 2017 thanks to efforts to transform degraded land into a green paradise.

Today, the lush Saihanba is home to thousands of species of flora and fauna for its good environment, and also attracts many tourists.

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