Fujian vows to restore ecology, sustain GDP

Updated: 2016-01-18 07:57

By Hu Meidong in Xiamen, Fujian(China Daily)

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Fujian vows to restore ecology, sustain GDP

Tourists visit Cengcuoan, a fishing village that has become a tourist spot in Xiamen, Fujian province. Provided to China Daily

Restoration of the ecological system in Fujian province needs to be further strengthened in 2016 while maintaining a high GDP growth rate, officials at the provincial People's Congress said on Friday.

The provincial GDP is forecast to grow by 8.5 percent this year, two percentage points higher than the national average, according to a government report.

"There are definite improvements in the environment in the last year, but further efforts are needed in less-developed rural areas, especially in small watershed management," said Yu Weiguo, Fujian governor. Yu emphasized that the government needs to maintain a good balance between economic development and the environment.

The water quality of 12 major rivers in Fujian has remained good in the past year, officials said. Around 90 percent of rivers are within levels I to III, according to the report. Rivers are graded from I to V, with I being the best and V the worst.

Cooperation between experts from Taiwan and the government in Xiamen has set an example for villages as they prepare to help manage small watersheds in their areas.

Jian Poyan, an agricultural expert from Taiwan who graduated from the University of Hawaii in the United States, has worked to make rural areas in Xiamen healthier and more sustainable and livable places.

"We found that the soil is suitable for planting lavender, which requires well-drained, slightly alkaline soil," Jian said. "The plant gradually improves the water quality and provides a habitat for fish and other aquatic life."

He said villages should make changes to land use by planting organic vegetables and aquatic plants that are helpful in improving soil quality.

After a one-year trial using 3.35 hectares of land in Chushan village, revenue generated from each hectare of land reached 2.25 million yuan ($341,770) a year, triple that of 2014.

"The focus is not just bringing a specific new plant here but to create a habitat. We want to tell the local residents that only when the ecology is restored can they make long-term profits," Jian said.

Wang Yanfei contributed to this story.