BEIJING -- Amid the high-rise buildings in Beijing's second-ring road a city park has newly emerged, which has been designated as the first urban forest in downtown Beijing.
The park covering 30,000 square meters emerged in an area evacuated after the dismantling of a number of shanty houses.
A botanical garden has taken shape with 79 varieties of trees and shrubs as well as 30 herbaceous and ground-covering plant species in the park.
"Beijing is a city with high land costs. The primary difficulty in the city's urban greenery building is the lack of space," said Wang Kuo, chief designer of the urban greenery project.
He said that as the city removed its non-capital functions, greenery had gradually expanded.
According to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Landscape and Forestry, Beijing plans to build 16 city parks with six of them under construction.
Deng Naiping, head of the bureau, said the city had added 4,022 hectares of urban greenery in the past five years. In 2017, greenery was added to 179 alleys in downtown Beijing.
In Beijing's most ancient commercial street of Dashilar, a market once occupied by street vendors was transformed into a 1,800 square-meter garden last year.
As part of the urban greening, Beijing has also committed to planting trees to create "green barriers" in its outskirts.
The bureau said that in the next three years, 66,666 hectares of artificial forests would be planted. In the past six years, the same size of afforestation has been completed restoring the ecological environment in outskirts of the city in what were former construction sites, deserted gravel or mines and polluted wasteland.
Monday coincided with China's annual National Tree-planting Day, which was created in 1981.
The Beijing bureau said volunteers were expected to help plant 1 million trees this year, and tend 11 million trees already planted.
More than 200 million trees have been planted in Beijing by volunteers since 1981.