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How Golf Relates to Agricultural Project in China

A disheartening piece from the Shanghai Daily:

TREES that cost millions of yuan to plant to stop soil erosion and water run-off in a north China village have been uprooted for a golf course.

The sea buckthorn trees sheltered gales and stabilized the soil in Jiuchenggong Village in Erdos City of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Xinhua news agency reported today.

The 36-hole golf course, indoor coaching center and other support facilities are expected to use 5 million tons of water each year, mostly underground water, for its planned 467 hectares.

Villagers fear it will drain groundwater and lead to further soil loss.

China’s water authority launched an ecological improvement project in 1998 to plant 200 hectares of sea buckthorn to improve the soil and water supplies.

Villagers told Xinhua that the tree planting had worked, as water was now reappearing in formerly dried-up streams.

Development was banned by the local government in the village because of its ecological fragility.

But Erdos Yitong Yitong Coal Co Ltd launched the golf project in the ecological protection zone in 2005, calling it a “new agricultural project” because China bans golf course construction, the report said.

Yitong Coal has developed half of the golf project and expects to lay lawns next month ready for opening in August, according to a manager surnamed Qiao.

The zone’s water authority doesn’t have the power to stop the golf project, according to Chen Yonggui, office dean of Dongsheng District Water Protection Bureau.

Go here for more details about the story in Chinese.

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