Rui’an City On National Tree Day

Every year on 12 March, China celebrates its National Tree-Planting Day, a tradition that can be traced back to 1915. This year, China representative for REVOLVE and Cities4Forests, Ving Wu, visited the city of Rui’an and met local officials for a tour of their activities.

China has been a global tree-planting leader for many years. Since 1978, more than 66 billion trees have been planted in the Three-North Shelter Forest Program, the country’s largest tree-planting drive also called the Great Green Wall. Between 2013 and 2018 alone, China planted 338,000 km2 of artificial forests, an area larger than the entire country of Malaysia.

Cities4Forests visited Officer Xu of the Pandai subdistrict in Rui’an City administration on the bank of the Feiyun River and known as the “Peach Flower Village in the heart of Pandai, Rui’an City, Zhejiang Province in southern China. The administrative division covers an area of 28.9 square kilometers, with a household registration population of 22,000 and a resident population of 27,000.

Rui’an City. Photo: Ving Wu

Pandai is a vibrant economic zone outside of Rui’an City with 44 large-scale enterprises, and 560 enterprises, with the main industry being chemicals for manufacturing. Pandai has a long history and its own special culture built around the famous Master Park, named for a famous village ancestor Sun Yirang 孙诒让, and is making every effort to build a modern ecological livable area.

Like in other areas of China, Pandai has a budget specifically set for tree planting every year. Xu introduced us to one of the projects located in the Zhongrong mountain range in the Pandai subdistrict. In this project, over 1 million CNY (around 180,000 USD) will be invested to plant 46,088 trees of two species, which were selected for the area by Zhejiang Subtropical Crop Research Institute, Schima Superba and Liquidambar formosana.

During our tour, Xu received a call from a neighboring district to discuss the trees they were planted for China’s national tree planting day. Xu explained that while Rui’an city would host a large event with the participation of the mayor, Pandai had organized a smaller special event to plant trees in one of the subdistrict’s old villages. These trees would be planted by ‘Local Achievers’, a group comprised of business owners from Pandai who have set up successful businesses outside their hometown.

Local Achievers at Tree Planting Day in Pandai. Photo: Peter Lee

“Most Local Achievers are starting their businesses outside of hometowns. Inviting them to come back to their hometown and plant trees in the Local Achiever’s forest is an honor and responsibility for them. One tree could represent the love they have for the hometown and to make them care more about the environment, and the development and future of their hometown,” says Officer Su of the Communist Party, the organizer of this event.

On National Tree-Planting Day 2021, more than 30 Local Achievers came together in the old village of Shiqian to plant a total of over 330 laurels, cherry, and peach blossoms in the Local Achiever’s Forest, and maintain 3,000 yellow peach trees with grass cover.

For these Local Achievers, who were touched by the event, this is part of their responsibility towards their hometown, and part of how they carry on the culture and spirit of their ancestors by making the land greener and more beautiful than when they arrived.

Local Achievers at Tree Planting Day in Pandai. Photo: Peter Lee.