SHANDONG, CHINA –  Maple trees will be planted on thousands of acres as the Chinese government advances its massive afforestation program.

  Agriculture officials will plant millions of Acer Truncatum, a maple tree native to northern China. The tree is commonly referred to as a Shantung maple. The Forestation Project of 2014, located in Sishui County in Shandong Province, is aimed at expanding the Acer Truncatum’s growing area. The trees were planted in selected areas that would foster strong tree growth, Chinese officials said. The trees grow to about 50 feet in height and have a large rounded crown of leaves. The tree is often used in landscaping projects.

Additional growing of the tree will boost survivability of the trees as well as provide raw materials for products built with Acer Truncatum wood. Reforestation is a top priority for the Sishui County government. The ecological protection projet has curbed the desertification of northern China, which has been caused by the expansion of the Gobi Desert. The Green Wall project began in 1978 and is currently linked to about 16.5 percent of China's forested lands. In many of the new forests lumber projects have been outlawed to protect the trees.

In the past two decades, more than 35 billion trees have been planted as part of the Chinese afforestation project.

According to China.org:

"North of the Great Wall there is a “Green Great Wall”—the “Three Norths” (Northwest, North and Northeast) Shelterbelt—running parallel to the former. Recognized as the “largest ecological protection project” by UN environmental protection officials, this shelterbelt ranges from Binxian County in Heilongjiang Province in the east to the Uzbel Pass in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the west. It is 4,480 km long, covering 13 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities."

The Chinese government plans to complete the reforestation project by 2050, however there have been some setbacks with some trees dying due to inclement weather

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