BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhuanet) -- Nur Memet, a 53-year-old farmer of the Uygur ethnic group, left his home in Shule County, Kashi Prefecture of northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region early Saturday morning, China's National Arbor Day.
After bringing seven white poplar saplings on his bicycle, Nur joined a one-kilometer line of people planting trees in his village.
"Since the days when my grandpa's grandpa was alive, my family has been planting trees every spring. I have continued this tradition for over 30 years," said the man.
Nur's family is not the only one in Shule County with a tree-planting tradition.
Located on the edge area of the Taklimakan Desert, Shule Countygets only 76 millimeters of rainfall per year, just one thirtieth of the amount that evaporates.
Each spring when the wind blows, Shule County has "dustfall" instead of rainfall, with dust floating in the air continually.
To fight the wind, the local habitants, like other Uygurs living at the edge area of a desert, have a long history of planting trees.
According to Nur, locals plant as much trees as they can for atleast four or five days every March.
In Zhangqiu in East China's Shandong Province, people also planted trees on Saturday.
It's a part of a campaign lasting from March 12 to March 27 fortree planting organized by the Shandong Provincial Bureau of Forestry.
On hills and mountains near the city, 18-year-old boys and girls planted trees to commemorate their adult year. Families planted trees to express their best wishes and new couples to prove their love.
This Month, more than 3 million Beijing people will plant treesat nearly 30 places designated by the Beijing Greening Committee (BGC) and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Forestry.
According to the BGC, since a city resolution on tree planting was enacted in 1981, more than 3 million people join in the tree planting campaign every year.
In the past 24 years, the capital has had 150 million trees planted, more than 133 million of which have survived.
To realize the goal of holding a "Green Olympics" in 2008, the Beijing Municipal government will make more efforts in "making thecity green" this year, said Song Xiyou, an official with the BGC.
According to Song, 200 hectares of new land will be planted this year and 100 hectares of already planted land will be improved.
By the end of this year, the green coverage of the Beijing urban area will be 42 percent, and the per capita green area of the city will be 46 square meters, said Song.
From 1998 to 2004, a similar campaign in southwestern China's Sichuan Province led to the planting of 930 million trees, said Zhang Fan, an official with the Sichuan Provincial Forestry Department.
According to Zhang, with the promotion of the natural forest protection and reforesting former cultivated land over the past five years, Sichuan has realized an afforestation area of 3.614 million hectares with an annual average of 516,000 hectares.
Nur's house is now surrounded by more than 400 trees. Though the dirt road leading to the house is only three-meter wide, whitepoplars along the sides of the road are as tall as 20 meters.
"My father died when I was quite young. He had planted many trees when he was alive. When I was even shorter than a sheep, my mother told me repeatedly we should plant trees every year," Nur said.
"See the roof beam, tables, chairs and cabinets of my house? They are all from trees I have planted myself," she said.
"My grandpa taught us how to plant and I will teach my kids howto plant too," he said.
Nur said his son, who is working in the Shule county seat, willcome back home and plant trees with the family this weekend.
"My son knows more methods of tree planting such as fruit tree engraftation," said the man. Enditem