Agroforestry and sustainable farming systems

With the aim of developing better management models and to identify the most efficient and adapted methods for forest resources conservation and sustainable management in sandy lands, the project achieved significant results in six fields.

Production of maps on land use status in Korqin Sandy Lands, based on satellite imagery

During the second phase of the project, the production of a map of land use and vegetation status in Korqin Sandy Lands was completed at a scale of 1:200 000. The map covers an area of almost 9 million ha, extending from the county town of Shuangliao in the east, to Hongshan Reservoir in the west, with a length of 300 km, and from the county seat of Kunlun in the south to Yaonan City in the north, with a length of 305 km. The result of the study is of great significance, as it provides the basis for systematic land use planning. The map provides a direct view of land use status, vegetation distribution status, and degraded land (including saline or alkaline land, and water-eroded land) for of all counties in the Korqin Sandy Lands. The map will be used for planning land use; structurally adjusting land use; combating desertification; arranging agriculture, forestry and husbandry overall; managing environmental monitoring; and planning urban and other transport systems.

Development of a site classification of Korqin Sandy Lands

The project completed a site map of Korqin Sandy Lands and a site classification system. Priorities were given to the mapping of site classes, at a scale of 1:50 000, for Kezuohou County, Kulun County, Naiman County and Akailu County south of Xiliao River. Appropriate vegetation types were proposed according to the site classification of sandy lands, based on depth to water, surface soil type and human activities, so as to provide the theoretical basis for wise management of Korqin Sandy Lands.

Surveys and research on the natural elm savannah landscape in Korqin Sandy Lands and establishment of an elm gene bank

In the past 40 years, especially since the launch of the Three-North Shelterbelt Programme, the forest cover of Korqin Sandy Lands has been continuously increasing. However, desertified land in this area is still expanding. A basic problem is that more attention has been given to afforestation rather than to land management. The conservation of the remaining natural forest and grass vegetation has also lagged. In this regard, the project, on the one hand, proposed conservation and development of the original landscape of the Korqin (an elm savannah) through broad investigation and survey of natural vegetation in the area; and, on the other hand, collected and helped conserve the genetic resources of elm trees. An elm gene bank covering 6.67 ha was set up in Tongyu for ex situ conservation of elm resources typical of north China. More than 80 accessions of elm were included in the gene bank.

Gaining experience in environmental rehabilitation on shifting sand dunes

Shifting and semi-shifting sand dunes have caused major damage to the local ecology and to development of agriculture and animal husbandry. Under the project, studies were made on the introduction of broadleaf tree species, and rehabilitation of shifting sand dunes and some fixed sandy lands in Xinglongzhao Forest Farm of Naiman Branch. At the same time, shrub species were also planted. As a result, valuable experience was gained in controlling shifting and semi-shifting sandy dunes and in rehabilitation of savannah, laying a solid foundation for large-scale management and control measures in the future.

Progress in the study of integrated management of desertified farmland

In order to explore the best ways to combat farmland desertification, the project established an experimental site for the study of integrated management of arable land abandoned due to serious wind erosion and desertification. The site, in Fuji Village, Molimiao Township of Tongliao City, was set up at the beginning of 1999, and applied experience from other countries in combating desertification. Studies of agricultural yields and integrated management measures were undertaken, involving agroforestry, forest, grass and soil improvement; no farming; rotation of grazing and arable practices.

Developing new technology for the establishment of greenhouses on sand dunes

Advances were made in sand dune utilization and greenhouse construction on sand dunes. Several greenhouses were set up on fixed dunes in Naiman Banner, and high quality grape cultivars were successfully introduced. A new guide module for managing and fully developing sandy land was elaborated for use in similar areas in China, and this technique was extended.

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