Project location and organization

Headquarters and field stations

The project GCP/CPR/009/BEL was jointly financed by the Governments of Belgium and of China, and implemented by FAO. The project concentrated its activities on the Korqin Sandy Lands in the northeast of Inner Mongolia, a subregion of the Three-North Shelterbelt Programme. The area selected was in a transition zone between the Manchurian (or Dongbei) Plain and the Inner Mongolia Plateau, occupying about half of the Zhelimu League and some adjacent areas, and included the most degraded sites intended for tree planting and shelterbelt establishment as part of the Three North Shelterbelt Programme. The Korqin Sandy Lands cover some 42 000 km2.

Project scope

The project was created as a result of an urgent need to protect cultivated land against the severe degradation caused by wind and water erosion in the Korqin Sandy Lands, to improve the socio-economic well-being of the inhabitants of the region, and to produce, on a sustainable baisis, wood for all sorts of uses.

Many plantations and shelterbelts in the Korqin Sandy Lands have been established under the Three-North Shelterbelt Programme, using poplars and relying on a limited number of clones. Clones include hybrids of the native drought- and frost-resistant species (Populus simonii) with the European black poplar (Populus nigra). The limited genetic diversity in the plantations, and monoculture over large areas, has resulted in significant phytosanitary hazards, including a worrying susceptibility of the plantations to pests and diseases. The overall goal of the project was to address the problems of ever-increasing soil erosion, decreasing soil fertility, and lack of the wood products needed by the local inhabitants, and to consolidate the experience and genetic material acquired in order to test it and later replicate or expand it on other areas of the Three-North Shelterbelt Programme.

National and international partners

To achieve the ambitious goals of the Three-North Shelterbelt Programme and of the project GCP/CPR/009/BEL, the project GCP/CPR/009/BEL operated through three forest bureaus, which supervised the work of the three forest farms where the project fieldwork was carried out. These farms included the Xinglongzhao Forest Farm in the Naiman Banner, Inner Mongolia; the Zhangwu Mechanized Forest Farm in Zhanggutai, Zhangwu County, Liaoning Province; and the Number Two Mechanized Forest Farm in Zhanyu, Tongyu County, Jilin Province. The project also collaborated closely with three forest research institutes (Zhelimu League Forest Research Institute, Liaoning Sand Fixation Research Institute and Baicheng Forest Academy). Intensive cooperation was established with the Chinese Academy of Forestry, in Beijing, and the Beijing Forestry University. The project's headquarters, which coordinated project planning and activities, were based in Tongliao City, Zhelimu League, Inner Mongolia. Since the project completion in December 2002, follow-up is carried out by the Three North Afforestation Bureau in Yinchuan.


Extracted from
FAO. 2002. Technical project review document. Rome.
last updated:  Monday, October 17, 2005