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Like Father, Like Son
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  • Gao Eryun, from Guanjing Village in Ordos, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, cuts down dead branches and leaves 2. Gao Eryun herds goats on a grassland near his backyard on July 22 3. Gao Linshu, 80, sits at home on July 10 4. Gao Eryun trims trees on July 21
  • Gao Eryun cuts down dead branches and leaves
  • Gao Eryun herds goats on a grassland near his backyard on July 22
  • Gao Linshu, 80, sits at home in Guanjing Village in Erdos, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on July 10
  • 0817AH97_037836_副本.jpg
  • 0817AH98_037837_副本.jpg
  • 0817AI01_037838.jpg
  • 0817AI05_037842.jpg

Edited by Lu Yan, photos by Xinhua

Looking into the distance from his backyard, Gao Eryun sees a view full of vitality. Herds of goat graze on the grassland and cornstalks grow as tall as a person. It is hard to imagine that over 30 years ago, his home, Guanjing Village--located on the edge of the Kubuqi Desert in Erdos, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region--was covered with barren sand. The person who made the transformation possible was his father, Gao Linshu. 

Back in the 1980s, GuanJing Village was plagued with frequent sandstorms, making it almost impossible to grow crops. Most of the villagers left home in order to earn a living.  

But the year 1986 was a turning point. After earning the land use rights to 53 hectares of sand land, Gao Linshu decided to plant trees. Following five years of hard work by the entire family, vegetation grew and soil conditions were improved. To date, Gao Linshu and his family have planted trees covering a total of 333 hectares. 

By growing and selling oil-seed crops, Gao’s family became the first household to reach 10,000 yuan ($1,461) in savings. The practice was duplicated by fellow villagers and a number of them began to plant trees on contracted sand lands.  

Today almost two thirds of the land in Guanjing is afforested. The tree-planting campaign has helped restore local ecology, boost production and lift people’s living standards. 

Now 80, Gao Linshu, has passed on his greening legacy to his son. Apart from managing farmland and raising goats, Gao Eryun also has served as a forest ranger, protecting the fruits of the villagers’ labor for the past three decades. Currently, his family’s net income exceeds 150,000 yuan ($21,922). 

Copyedited by Rebeca Toledo

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