China News Service, Kashgar, Xinjiang, October 2 (Reporter Zhu Jingchao) Yiming Smayi, an old man in his 80s in Xinjiang, has been guarding the Populus euphratica forest for more than 40 years since the 1970s. He has witnessed the retreat of the forest and the improvement of the ecological environment .

  Yiming Smayi is a native of Qite Village, Xiamal Township, Bachu County, Kashgar Prefecture. The village is located deep in the Populus euphratica forest.

In 1976, he became a forest ranger at the Yanshan Forest Protection Station of the Shamalle State Forestry Administration in Bachu County. After retiring, the baton for guarding Populus euphratica was passed on to his son.

  The reporter recently came to the depths of Populus euphratica forest to interview, and saw that his home lived next to the forest.

He told reporters that in the 1970s and 1980s, in spring and summer, many primitive Populus euphratica often dried up due to lack of water, and forest fires had to be prevented.

"At that time, I was patrolling on horseback, and I went to the distance to carry water and water the trees."

In the past 10 years, every summer and autumn, the water of the Yeerqiang River is used to "quench the thirst" of Populus euphratica, and the Populus euphratica forest is now full of vitality.

Photo by Zhu Jingchao

  The reporter drove in the Populus euphratica forest and saw that the forest of Populus euphratica was flooded with water. Dou Heping, deputy captain of the first forest protection team of the State Forestry Administration of Shamalle, told a reporter from that in the past 10 years, every summer and autumn, the water of the Yeerqiang River has been drawn in. By "quenching thirst" for Populus euphratica, Populus euphratica has a vibrant situation now.

  The old man's grandson, Walli Yiwumu, said that his grandfather often took him to the Populus euphratica forest and told him about the experience of managing and protecting Populus euphratica.

He also said that grandpa often said, "After a hundred years, you have to take care of the Populus euphratica."

  "The Populus euphratica goes further, and the desert takes a step back." Yiming Smayi said that in the past, there were no patches of Populus euphratica, and the village was often filled with sand and soil. Now, there are patches of Populus euphratica to prevent the wind and fix the sand, and the dusty weather is much less than before.

  Populus euphratica has lived up to the hard work of the forest rangers, and now the villagers of Qite Village are eating ecological meals.

Many foreign tourists visit Populus euphratica, stay and eat in the village, and the villagers set up a farmhouse to increase their income.

  Today, Yiming Smayi is tending sheep in the Populus euphratica forest, protecting Populus euphratica in another way.

In spring, sheep eat dry vegetation and trample on reed poles to help prevent fires.

Also because of the "wild release", the value of "Eupulus euphratica" is much higher than that of Pingyuan sheep.

  Bachu is located on the northwestern edge of the Taklimakan Desert. The county has 3.16 million mu of contiguous wild Populus euphratica forests, and is known as the "Capital of Populus euphratica".