Beijing initiated a program to build urban forests in its Dongcheng and Xicheng districts in 2017. Three urban forests including one at Caishikou in Xicheng district have opened to the public.
“Certainly urban forests cannot compete with mountain forests in area. To be specific, urban forest represents an idea of building park green land by imitating the ecosystem of suburban forests,” introduced Chu Yuhong, deputy director of Dongcheng Gardening and Greening Bureau.
Urban forests have several distinctive features. First, they form forest communities similar to natural ones by adopting a large variety of local plant species. Second, they reflect biodiversity and offer proper habitats for birds and animals. Third, they emphasize sustainability by imitating natural topography including rivers and valleys to conserve rainwater, and introducing earthworms to improve soil.
Beijing started to build six urban forests at Xinjiekou, Caishikou, west of the Presidential Hotel Beijing and the northeast corner of Fuxingmen subway station in Xicheng, and Xigexinli and the juncture of Tonghui Canal and East Second Ring Road Moat in Dongcheng in 2017. Among them, the ones at Xinjiekou, Caishikou and Xigexinli have been completed.
Beijing will build more urban forest parks throughout the city by making use of lands vacated from shanty town renovation, dismantling illegal buildings and environment improvement. An official with Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau expressed the 16 districts in Beijing would start constructing at least one urban forest park with an area of no more than one hectare in 2018, and relevant guidelines are being worked out.