Songjiang forest cover rate to rise to 18.5% by end of 2021

Forest cover rate in Songjiang will rise to 18.5 percent by the end of 2021 from the current 16.41 percent, ranking the district among the city’s top 3 by the time.

By December 2021 Songjiang will have established one forest zone and seven ecological corridors inside its borders.

The Tianma Forest Zone in northwest Sheshan Town will be Songjiang’s biggest afforestation project once it is completed by the end of May this year, according to Cai Feng, deputy chief of the Songjiang Forestry Station.

The project, initiated in April 2019, will cover 6,368 mu (424.5 hectares) once finished. It will be east to the Shanghai Ring Expressway, south to Shenzhuan Highway, northwest to neighboring Qingpu District and south to the Shanghai Tianma Circuit.

“So far 4,550 mu of the Tianma afforestation project has been finished,” Cai revealed.

The first group of more than 250 afforestation personnel has been ready to resume work after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia caused the restart of the project after the Lunar New Year to be postponed, according to an official of Shanghai Kaisheng Forestry Engineering Co, the project’s operator.

The other seven ecological corridors on the construction agenda, once completed, will serve as a protective screen for urban Songjiang and safeguard the biological diversity of Shanghai with the city’s other ecological corridors.

As the forest cover rate rises, the suburban district’s woodland workers and farmers are also benefiting from the afforestation projects.

Guo Jingang, a villager of Yexie Town in Songjiang, is a woodland worker responsible for more than 200 mu of forest in the district’s Huangpu River Ecological Conserving Forest.

“My daily work includes weeding, dredging and guarding against bird hunting in the conserving forest, and I have a yearly income of about 60,000 yuan (US$8,564.6) to 70,000 yuan,” said Guo.

“In terms of forest economy, Songjiang has about 5,000 mu of economic forest now. The forest mainly yields peach and pear. In the next step, the forestry department is considering developing the medical herb economy in the forest,” said Cai.