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Water, woodland to dominate Xiongan New Area landscape

Zhang Yu
Updated: Oct 3,2017 7:37 AM     China Daily

Ecological protection will be a major priority during construction work

More than 70 percent of Xiongan New Area in North China’s Hebei province will be covered by water and trees, according to a leading official.

“We will not construct high-rise buildings, concrete jungles or glass walls in the new area,” Chen Gang, director of the Xiongan New Area administrative committee, said.

He added that protection of the local ecological environment will be regarded as a top priority during the construction process, which will follow a green development path.

According to the development plan, announced in April, the area will cover about 100 square kilometers initially, but will be expanded to 200 sq km in the middle term, and rise to about 2,000 sq km in the long term.

Infrastructure, businesses and residential buildings will cover less than 30 percent of the total area, while the remainder will be home to forests and bodies of water, according to a statement published on the area’s official WeChat account on Sept 28.

The aim is to build a livable new area, with plant life, forests and water being the main elements, said Liu Baoling, executive deputy director of the administrative committee.

He added that trees are already being planted across a 120,000-square-meter pilot region to provide experience with the cultivation of seedlings, planting technologies and management.

Based on that work, a manual about the area’s overall afforestation will be produced to guide further planting work.

Another forestry project, covering 7 sq km, will start by the end of the year.

By 2030, the area’s woodland coverage rate will surpass 40 percent, more than double the national average, according to Liu.

At present, the coverage rate in the three counties spanning the new area are 19.72 percent in Xiongxian, 9.3 percent in Rongcheng and 7.29 percent in Anxin.

In addition to woodland, Xiongan is home to Baiyangdian, one of the largest freshwater wetlands in China.

Know as the “Pearl of North China”, Baiyangdian, which covers 366 sq km, contains 143 small lakes and is essential to the conservation of water on the North China Plain.

The ecological restoration of the wetland has been one of the key tasks for the area. A range of measures have been undertaken, such as controlling the discharge of wastewater into the lakes and the removal of fish-raising nets in the water.

The overall planning for Xiongan is already underway, and will include a specific plan for the protection of Baiyangdian’s environment.

According to the administrative committee, preparations are also being made to start a number of major projects in the fields of transportation, ecological restoration and cultural protection in line with the area’s mode of development.

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