Nature reserve, extensive plantations and cycling routes among city's efforts to harmonize with environment
Chengdu of Southwest China's Sichuan province is promoting green and low-carbon methods to practice the new development concept of a park city.
With a population of more than 21 million, Chengdu is praised as a city in harmony with nature. It is also home to rare animals such as giant pandas, golden snub-nosed monkeys and takins, a goat-like antelope.
In recent years, the Dujiangyan area of the Giant Panda National Park in Chengdu, formerly known as Longxi-Hongkou Reserve, has seen an increasing number of wild animals, according to Zhu Dahai, an official of that area.
"It was hard to find animals like golden snub-nosed monkeys and takins in the park when I first came here.
"But now they are often photographed by infrared cameras or can even be spotted during our daily patrol," Zhu said.
With the improvement in ecology, the park has not only seen a growing number of wild giant pandas, but a group of new plants, Zhu said.
Dedicated to establishing harmony between the city and nature, Chengdu has taken advantage of its ecological resources.
Pioneering the new development concept of a park city, Chengdu has constructed ecological corridors and green spaces.
Located in the northwest of the city, the Chengdu area of the Giant Panda National Park is home to wild pandas due to its location in the Qionglai and Minshan mountains. The area spans 1,445 square kilometers and currently hosts 73 wild giant pandas. It is home to more than 3,000 species of high-level plants and more than 500 species of terrestrial wildlife.
Using the opportunity of the park's construction, Chengdu has implemented ecological restoration and ecological corridor construction for the giant panda's habitat and to enhance the conservation of water and soil.
To date, the local authority has restored 3,400 hectares of habitat and shut down 34 small hydropower stations in the park as well as created a 300-meter waterfall.
Located in eastern Chengdu, Longquan Mountain presents a megacity forest park measuring 1,275 sq km, which has become an ecological leisure park for residents and visitors.
Over the past four years, the forest park has completed 10,667 hectares of plantations. Its forest coverage rate increased from 54 percent in 2016 to 59.5 percent in 2021, according to local officials.
Another shining example of Chengdu's ecological construction is the Tianfu Greenways. The greenways have a planned length of 16,900 km, with 5,327 km built so far. They run through ecological zones, public parks, entertainment parks and miniature green spaces across the city, allowing residents to enjoy harmony with nature.
A major part of the greenways system is an ecological park built around Chengdu's highways. It was completed early this year, contributing a green zone to the city with an area of 133 sq km.
To benefit social welfare, Chengdu has introduced new businesses models and consumption centering on sports, tourism and cultural creation during the green construction. These aim to capitalize on ecological values and contribute to the green and low-carbon development.
Tianfu Feiteng town located alongside the ecological park has created a leisure project featuring hotpot, live music and greenways, attracting a group of fans on social platforms. Jiangtan Park located on the Jinjiang River has developed into a waterfront area.
"Chengdu has witnessed huge changes in its environment in the last two years," said a resident surnamed Zhang.
"There are many newly built big parks providing residents with recreational areas. Green lands and small amusement parks offer a pleasant landscape for people during their commute," Zhang said.
Zhang said she often makes an appointment with her friends to visit scenic spots such as Xinglong Lake, Qinglong Lake and Longquan Mountain forest park at weekends or on holidays.
On workdays, Zhang said she prefers green transport such as riding a bike along the Tianfu Greenways to enjoy nature on her way home.
Due to the improvement of the environment and the construction of green and low-carbon transportation, there are more residents in Chengdu shunning private cars.
Official data show that, in 2021, the mileage of Chengdu's urban rail transit reached 558 km, ranking fourth in the country. The travel rate of its public transport reached 60 percent and the average daily rides of sharing bikes was 1.13 million.
Last year, up to 103,000 people with private cars in Chengdu switched to rail transit, contributing to a reduction of 140,000 metric tons of carbon emissions, data shows.
To promote a green and low-carbon lifestyle, the city launched a public platform to encourage businesses and residents to practice low-carbon development. The platform allows people to earn reward points through ecological behavior, such as riding sharing bikes and driving new energy vehicles. These can then be redeemed on the platform's online store.
The platform was developed to promote green transformation in residents' daily lives, a manager of the platform said. To date, the platform has attracted more than 650,000 users.
During the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), Chengdu will carry out the 2.0 green plantation action to expand the city's green landscape and implement low-carbon development.
In February, the city launched the construction of future park communities and is expected to complete 200 such facilities by 2025.
A giant panda eats bamboo at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. ZHANG ZHIHE/FOR CHINA DAILY
Residents go jogging along a section of the Tianfu Greenways in Chengdu, Sichuan province. SUN LIN/FOR CHINA DAILY
Impressive views can be enjoyed inside Longquan Mountain City Forest Park. WANG XIAO/FOR CHINA DAILY
A cyclist enjoys leafy views down the avenue at Chengdu North Lake inside the city. DENG BANGMIN/FOR CHINA DAILY
Chengdu Guixi Ecological Park boasts a lake and plantations. CHINA DAILY
The riverbanks in Jinniu district of Chengdu are lush with plants. ZHANG YONG/FOR CHINA DAILY