China sees environmental progress in Greater Hinggan Mountains

(Xinhua) 11:23, April 26, 2022

HOHHOT, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The weather is still cold in April in north China's Greater Hinggan Mountains. Several reindeer ambled out of the dense woods of pine and birch and came to ethnic Aoluguya Ewenki hunter Gu Gejun for feed.

The Aoluguya Ewenki people, known as "the last hunting tribe in China," are the only ethnic minority group in China that make a living by raising reindeer.

In their ethnic language, Aoluguya Ewenki means "people living in the mountains and lush poplar forests." The ethnic culture was once under threat of disappearing, but now the forest and the ethnic population are thriving thanks to the country's protection efforts.

Located in the northeast of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the northern part of Heilongjiang Province, the forestland in the Greater Hinggan Mountains is the largest state-owned forest of its kind in China.

China has been committed to protecting the forest ecosystem in the Greater Hinggan Mountains for many years. Since 1998, the country has implemented a natural forest protection project here. In April 2015, commercial logging of natural forests was completely stopped.

A total of 511 management and protection sites have been established covering about 9.7 million hectares of natural woods, according to Chen Baishan, an official of the Inner Mongolia Forest Industry Group.

Over the past 20 years, the forestland of the Greater Hinggan Mountains in Inner Mongolia has increased by over 1.38 million hectares to about 10.3 million hectares.

The Greater Hinggan Mountains have huge potential to expand their forest area and carbon storage, which is of great significance for China's implementation of the Paris Agreement, said He Youjun, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Forestry.

Besides the ecological environment, the culture and traditions of ethnic minority groups such as the Ewenki and Oroqen have also been well protected in the area.

In recent years, reindeer faced the problem of population degradation due to inbreeding in the area. Since 2017, the Inner Mongolia Forest Industry Group has introduced 244 reindeer from the Netherlands which helped rejuvenate the population.

In 2003, Genhe City in Inner Mongolia helped move hundreds of Ewenki hunters to the western suburbs of the city, while maintaining their traditional reindeer breeding sites in the forest, said Sun Juan, director of the publicity department of the Genhe Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Zhang Zicheng, director of the culture and tourism bureau of Oroqen Autonomous Banner, said governments at all levels have attached great importance to the cultural heritage of the Oroqen ethnic group, and successfully rolled out three national intangible cultural heritage protection projects to better protect the ethnic culture. 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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