Wang Hao, People’s Daily
The agritainment business of Wang Wenlie, a villager from Hefeng county, central China’s Hubei
province is picking up as flocks of tourists come to visit Jiulianshan Mountain, a scenic spot near
his home in early summer, the best time for sightseeing of the year.
By implementing the “grain for green” strategy and protecting the “green asset” of the Jiulianshan
Mountain, Hefeng county is creating huge benefits for its people from the sound ecological
According to statistics, 75.9 percent of the land in the county is covered by forests, and the value
produced by tea, herbal medicine and tourism industries there has exceeded 3 billion yuan.
China is aiming to achieve ecological conservation and poverty alleviation simultaneously. For
instance, Changning county in southwest China’s Yunnan province plans to return 4,000 hectares
of farmlands to forests, a move which is about to benefit 7,503 rural households. It also plans to
plant 57,860 hectares of public welfare forests and pay forest ecological compensation totaling
20.34 million yuan. There are many other places like Changning in China which are both poverty-
stricken and ecologically vulnerable.
In recent years, China has released a package of favorable policies to share the ecological
dividends with impoverished residents. Under the new “grain for green” policies, farmers can
receive 1,200 yuan and 850 yuan, respectively for turning each 0.066 hectares of farmlands to
forests and grasslands.
Since 2016, China has carried out major ecological conservation projects in 22 central and western
provinces and allocated more than 150 billion yuan to support the projects.
Lucid waters and lush mountains are both natural and economic assets. To increase income for the
impoverished in the long run and help them remain free of poverty, local governments across the
country are making huge endeavor to develop green industries according to local conditions.
Shiyan, Hubei province is a core water source area of China’s South-to-North Water Diversion
Project. Of the 12 main tributaries converging on the Danjiangkou Reservoir, 10 pass through
Shiyan and are all tributaries of Hanjiang River, a major tributary of the Yangtze River.
“The green mountains and clear waters are the most valuable resources of our village. We’ve
planted 33.33 hectares of persimmon trees to maintain water and soil and promote intercropping,”
said Han Xiaohu, first secretary of Luoyan village, Yunyang district, Shiyan.
By improving ecological environment of river banks and developing rural tourism, the village
shook off poverty at the end of last year, Han introduced.
The sound ecological environment has yielded high-quality products. By raising 6,000 chickens,
Xu Yuanqiu, a farmer from Qianjin village, Chengkou county, southwest China’s Chongqing
municipality sees an annual profit of more than 200,000 yuan.
“My village is rich in negative oxygen ions and we feed the chickens with worms and spring
water. As a result, our chickens are welcomed by the market and have gained reputation. The price
is three times more than that of ordinary chickens,” said Xu.
Native chickens, black pigs and vegetables, hidden deep in the mountains in the past, are now
served on the dinner tables of more consumers, said Song Kang, the village’s first secretary.
The green and healthy agricultural products have seen their prices rising significantly. Statistics
show that the output value of the forestry sector in 22 provinces in central and western China has
reached 4.26 trillion yuan, and 7,586 villages have been identified as national forest villages. In
addition, about 1.1 million registered impoverished people saw their annual family income
increase by an average of 3,500 yuan each year relying on forest tourism.
Ecological poverty alleviation has helped 3 million impoverished people get rid of poverty and
increase their income. At present, the coverage of forests and grasslands in poverty-stricken areas
is expanding continuously; desertification and soil erosion are controlled; and the forest coverage
rate of China has been increasing by 4 percentage points on average.
“Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. Departments at all levels must make
greater efforts to coordinate ecological protection and poverty alleviation with greater
determination and strength, and make new and greater contributions to securing a decisive victory
in poverty alleviation,” said Zhang Jianlong, director of the National Forestry and Grassland