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APFNet’s contribution on fighting desertification in Horqin Sandy Land, Northern China

The Terminal Evaluation of APFNet project “Demonstration Project of Vegetation Restoration and Management and Utilization of Forest Resources in Greater Central Asia (Chifeng sites) [2017P1-INM]” was held on November 11-13, 2019.  

The project site, located in the famous Horqin Sandy Land, Inner Mongolia, experience extremely dry weather, desertification and low vegetation coverage which have led to poor livelihoods, the decline of species diversity, and sandy storms in the past decades. To promote forest restoration, combat desertification, and improve ecological and economic benefits in the region, APFNet has supported the project since 2017, with strategies including summarizing the typical models for desertification prevention and control in Chifeng and providing theoretical basis and practical cases for the Greater Central Asia; making demonstration on high-standard sandy-land vegetation restoration and afforestation technical models and selection of economic species (such as Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica Litv., Populus alba var. pyramidalis, Prunus armeniaca, Prunus sibirica) fitting for the local situation to  improve forest stand quality and multi-functional benefits of forests; demonstration on economic/medical understorey species (Rhodiola rosea Linn., Glycyrrhiza uralensis, ect.) under tree species to diversify the income sources.



Figure 1. Land situation in the project site in winter of 2017 (left), and the demonstration forest mixed with Mongolian pine and Xinjiang poplar (right)


With the three years project implementation, the project achieved the following outputs: (1) Completed a Research Report of Typical Models for Desertification Prevention and Control in Chifeng; (2) Established 70 ha demonstration forest for vegetation restoration in sandy area, including 30 ha demonstration forest mixed with Mongolian pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica Litv.) and Xinjiang poplar (Populus alba var. pyramidalis), and 40 ha demonstration forest mixed with Mongolian pine and yellowhorn; (3) Established 39 ha demonstration base of economic forest in sandy area, including 13 ha Prunus armeniaca grafting on wild apricot, tending of 18 ha original Prunus sibirica, high-yield technology popularizing and applying on 8 ha Prunus armeniaca.; (4) Established 2.67 ha demonstration base of economic understorey species within the popular and Mongolia pine; (5) Around 500 forest practitioners have been involved in the technical training related to desertification prevention and control, Prunus Armeniaca graft, insects control and management.



Figure 2. Terminal evaluation meeting in Aohan Forestry and Grassland Administration (left), field visit in the project site (right).



The review team gave a high rating on the project performance. Following the field visits and communication with the local authority, the review team suggested to further strengthen project summary and dissemination on the basis of the existing outputs. The review team also suggested to continue facilitating data collection for project impact monitoring and tracking, and provide evident-based demonstration to similar economies in the Greater Central Asia.

A phased II project was recommended by the review team following by a discussion among stakeholders on the feasibility of a follow-up project and its framework.