Planting trees to fight poverty
On the 39th National Tree Planting Day that falls on Sunday, Ngodrup Wangmo made a wish to make Tibet a more desirable place to live and help more people shake off poverty, by planting trees.
Ngodrup Wangmo, 42, has been planting poplars in a village near Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, for 17 years.
In the year 2000, the government of Nam Village, where she was adopted at the age of 2, called on villagers to plant trees for better income.
Regardless of the objection from her family, Ngodrup Wangmo bet all her savings and land on poplar seedlings.
Trees are precious and not often seen on high altitude regions such as Tibet.
In 2003, Ngodrup Wangmo sold the first batch of seedlings to the village government for a public garden. In addition to the first "bucket of gold" in her life, her confidence was also greatly boosted.
She contracted more land over the years -- from the original 2 mu (0.13 hectares) to 18 mu, and the number of seedling types was also increased to seven. Her seedlings now are planted across Tibet.
In 2014, she established a cooperative, creating jobs for 28 poor women in her village. Last year, the income of her seedling company reached 170,000 yuan (24,500 U.S. dollars).
"Because of poverty, my parents had to give me away. I know the bitter taste of poverty," she said.
Sixty percent of poverty-sticken population in China live in the vast forests, mountains and deserts, said Zhang Jianlong, director of the State Forestry Administration.
Forestry has become an important way of poverty alleviation thanks to the preferential allocation of forestry projects and government funds earmarked for underdeveloped areas, Zhang said.
Nearly 290,000 poor people have become paid forest rangers, and more people benefited from tree planting, forest tourism and forest products, according to the administration.
Zhang said forestry has increased income for 1.1 million poor people in China last year.
"The village used to be bare and sandy. People say that my nursery garden and trees have changed the place. Trees bring both green and fortune to us, and I will keep planting," Ngodrup Wangmo said.
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The poor population of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture's decreased from 283,900 at the end of 2011 to 79,300 at the end of 2016, and poverty incidence dropped from 51% to 14%, according to the Ethnic Affairs Commission of Gansu Province, northwest China.
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