On a sunny, warm spring morning, a heavy truck carrying tree seedlings slowly comes to stop. A dibble machine leaves a line of tree holes, as workers get ready to plant trees in the soil.
It is a forestation site in Xiongxian County, part of the Xiongan New Area, a new economic zone about 100 kilometers southwest of Beijing. It is the third new area of national significance after the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and the Shanghai Pudong New Area.
China announced the establishment of Xiongan New Area on April 1, 2017, aiming to build it as a low-carbon, intelligent, livable and globally influential city where people and nature exist in harmony. The tree plantation project is part of the area's green drive.
The fine-selected seedlings were delivered with tender care. Delivery workers sprayed water on them to keep them humid and moved them gently to avoid the soil detaching from the roots, said Xu Chengli, an expert of the Xiongan ecological construction company.
On the planting site, each seedling carrys an aluminum label with a QR-code that tells its species, location, name of its nursery, and other information.
The seedling is also supported by a bamboo pole, tied together with a loop that expands automatically as the seedling grows.
The QR code forms part of a "digital forest" system, allowing Xiongan to manage its forest efficiently.
Since last autumn, 260,000 trees have been planted in Xiongan New Area, according to Peng Xugeng, general manager of the company. A further 15 million trees will be added this year.
Total planned forest area will reach 67,000 hectares, one-third of Xiongan New Area.
Together with the wetland of Baiyangdian, 70 percent of the new area will be covered with water or trees.
"With our lands becoming greener, sky bluer and water cleaner, our hometown will be decorated with green and blue colors, benefiting our offspring," said Wang Shuxin, 69, a local villager in Xiongxian County.