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Hard work of three generations turns barren mountain green

By Qi Xin in Zhengzhou, Henan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-09-27 20:31

After three generations spent nearly 60 years on planting trees, they changed the face of Yushan mountain in Yongcheng city, Central China's Henan province, turning it from a desolate land into green area spread over more than 700 acres (46.7 hectares).

Shi Liangke, a 69-year-old farmer, the second generation, said: "It is said that faith can move mountains, and this appears true with the efforts of three generations."

Shi said he followed his father and villagers in planting trees when he was young. "It was a tough time indeed, villagers dug the stones with shovels every day, they planted trees, and loaded the soil and water on their shoulders as they climbed the mountain," Shi said. But he said the spirits of his father and villagers helped him overcome the hardships.

Pointing to the 300 acres of cypress woods, he said they are the result of the predecessors' hard work and sweat.

For Shi Jingrui, Shi's father, the big dream was to green the mountain, but he died at the age of 105 in 2002.

To keep the project going, Shi Liangke decided to be the contractor in charge of 700 acres of mountain with his two nephews, where they continued to plant the trees, such as apricot and hawthorn.

A 3,400-meter-long stone firewall to protect the trees was also built in the mountain with the help of the villagers.

More than 200 shovels were used in the past 60 years, said Zheng Yi, 49, a nephew of Shi. "But we discovered that villagers wanted to climb the mountain to plant more and more trees."

"Now, we are planning to arrange an 'Apricot Festival' when the apricot flowers blossom next year, which could attract more tourists to visit the new Yushan mountain. I am fully confident that this place will become more beautiful," Shi said.

Li Yuan contributed to this story.

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