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Xinjiang's Urumqi regains its "beautiful pasture" after eco-crisis


18:49, December 21, 2011

URUMQI, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Urumqi, capital of northwest Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, has regained its grassland scenery after decades of ecological deterioration.

The grassland area of Urumqi -- which means "beautiful pasture" in Mongolian -- is 987,000 hectares, covering 76.6 percent of the city's total area, according to statistics released by the municipal government on Wednesday.

Thanks to its grassland ecological protection project, Urumqi has seen its vegetation coverage, a comprehensive index of the vegetation covering the land, increased by 166 percent compared with 2003, and its grass bed height has increased 157 percent.

Amid the process of urbanization in recent years, the surrounding pasture area in Urumqi shrank sharply, and overgrazing exacerbated the situation with regional desertification.

But in 2003, the Urumqi municipal government began gradually expanding the grazing ban and planted grass artificially to recover its grassland ecology.

It has also set up a foraging base near the city for farmers' livestock.

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