Skylight in Dense Forest Heilongjiang 6000 Mu Forest Land Suspected to be Destroyed Ginseng

 Skylight in Dense Forest Heilongjiang 6000 Mu Forest Land Suspected to be Destroyed Ginseng

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Close forests open skylights, Heilongjiang 6000 mu of forest land suspected of being deforested species of ginseng (source:)

Recently, some netizens reported to the upstream news that a large area of state-owned and village collective-owned woodland in Maoershan Town, Shangzhi City, Heilongjiang Province, was felled tens of thousands of Mu without logging procedures. He has repeatedly responded to the local State-owned Forest Farm Administration, Forestry Bureau and Forestry Public Security Bureau, but has not yet been dealt with.

In early April, upstream journalists came to Maoershan Town, Shangzhi City, and found that there were indeed many woodlands cut down and turned into large areas of participation (ginseng cultivation). One of the larger sites, covering an area of 40 hectares, is like opening a huge skylight in dense woodland.

It is reported that Heilongjiang has issued a document prohibiting the cultivation of ginseng and other medicinal materials in any form of reclamation of forest land, and requests that the encroached forest land must be recovered and returned to forests by the end of 2015.

_The contrast between the ginseng land and the dense forest on one side is strong, like opening a skylight. Photographer/upstream journalist Shen Du

Report that the village branch took the lead in cutting down ten thousand mu of forest land

Reporters said that many woodlands in Maoershan Town, Shangzhi City, Heilongjiang Province, were felled tens of thousands of Mu without logging procedures, and most of them were state-owned woodlands and collectively owned woodlands in villages. The leading person behind this is the three brothers of Wang headed by Wang Hongyi, a village branch of Mengjiacun in Maoershan Town.

The reporter told upstream journalists that, as far as he knows, since the winter of 2014, without any approval procedures, Wang Hongyi and others have indiscriminately cut down more than 10,000 mu of state-owned, collective and individual forest land in Mengjiacun, Jiujitun, Dayuan Tun, Hongxing Tun, Dayou Tun and other places in Maoershan Town, and that the felling has continued until the spring of 2018, when Shangzhi Citys Forestry Public Security intervened in the survey. The investigation stopped.

The whistleblower also said that Wang Hongyi and others made huge profits by leasing 6,000 mu of deforested woodland to the farmers. Upstream journalists learned from local residents that the people who contracted these woodlands were farmers from Jilin. The farming cycle of a ginseng plot is four to five years, and the contract price of each hectare of forest land is between 150,000 and 180,000. According to this calculation, 6000 mu of woodland is 400 hectares. If we do not consider the cost expenditure, only 6000 mu of woodland will make a profit of 670 million yuan in five years.

According to public information, Wang Hongyi has been the head of Mengjia Village in Maoershan Town since at least 2011, and since then he has been the branch book of Mengjia Village. Several logging sites reported by the informer are under the jurisdiction of Mengjia Village. In addition, under the name of Wang Hongyi, there are many enterprises. At the same time, he serves as the legal representative of Maoershan Town Forest Farm, which is controlled by the government of Maoershan Town, Shangzhi City.

The informer said that he had responded to the local state-owned forest farm administration, Forestry Bureau and Forestry Public Security Bureau many times before. In August 2018, he handed in the report again, but the result is still missing and has not yet been dealt with clearly.

_A plot of ginseng land in Mengjiacun District 9, Maoershan Town, Shangzhi City, Heilongjiang Province, has been ridged. Photographer/upstream journalist Shen Du

Huge skylights appear in dense jungle

Under the leadership of the insider, upstream journalists found a place in Maoershan Town, Shangzhi City.

From the nine districts of Mengjiacun to the north, along the mountain road, reporters saw countless piers, about 60-70 cm in diameter, which had been burned and blackened, piled up at will on both sides of the mountain road. Continuing for about one kilometer, the dense trees suddenly opened up. Because the woodland was cut down in a large area, a huge skylight suddenly appeared, which was located in a very superior position and surrounded by mountains. It was difficult to be found by the outside world.

Upstream journalists learned that the key to ginseng planting lies in the choice of land. Broad-leaved forest or coniferous-broad-leaved mixed forest, Bush as Lespedeza hazelnut wood and other woodlands are suitable for planting. Local residents said that ginseng requires high soil quality. As long as cultivated land has been planted with crops, ginseng has serious diseases after sowing, and it is difficult to succeed.

Upstream news reporters saw at the scene that part of the land far north-east was covered with dark plastic sheeting. It is understood that ginseng has been planted for a long time under plastic cloth. In addition, some of the nearby land has been ploughed and ridged in a certain width, and some of the land has been planted with bows.

_Maoershan Town Mengjiacun 9 District Tun large area of participation. Photographer/upstream journalist Shen Du

_One of the first sites to be cut has been covered with dark plastic cloth. Photographer/upstream journalist Shen Du

Insiders said that the forest land here is owned by the state-owned forest farms and collectives in Shangzhi City. It is not difficult to deduce from the situation of forest use that the forest land was not contracted out or cut down at the same time, but intermittently for several years.

Upstream journalists searched historical satellite images and found that in September 2014, the area was once a lush forest; by July 2017, the northeastern region had covered with dark plastic cloth and began to grow ginseng. The reporter saw the ridged woodland, which had not been cut down at that time.

According to rough estimates, the forest area is about 40 hectares. If the minimum contract price is 150,000 yuan per hectare, the benefit will be at least 6 million yuan. This is only one of the dozens of local places.

Is the relevant report of the whistleblower true? Are there relevant approval procedures for large-scale deforestation in the area? Is such a large-scale deforestation of ginseng approved by relevant government departments? From April 10 to 11, upstream journalists wanted to check with Wang Hongyi on the above issues, but their calls were hung up many times and they could not get in touch with them.

_Comparing the satellite images of 2014 and 2017, it shows that a large area of dense forest has been destroyed. Photographer/upstream journalist Shen Du

The government has issued a document banning deforestation of ginseng species

Upstream journalists noted that in recent years, Heilongjiang government departments have issued many documents prohibiting deforestation, reclamation, arbitrary occupation of forest land and other acts. As early as January 2015, Heilongjiang Province issued the Notice on Strengthening the Protection and Management of Forestland, calling for resolute suppression of all deforestation and prohibition of cultivating ginseng and other medicinal materials in any form.

The aforementioned Circular also requires that all localities should formulate a detailed work programme and recover illegally occupied forest land in accordance with the law. For the encroached forest land and the land with large slope and serious soil erosion, it must be recovered and returned to forests by the end of 2015. For recovered land, no further cultivation in the name of paid use shall be allowed to ensure that all recovered forest land is returned to forests.

Are forestry departments aware of such large-scale deforestation?

On April 11, Director Yue of the Forestry Bureau of Shangzhi City, Heilongjiang Province, told upstream journalists that as far as he knew, Maoershan Town did have several plots of land. But the situation of local forest farms is very complicated and the management is confused. He said that the forest farm in Shangzhi area has seven units to manage at the same time, including village collectives, state-owned, state-owned, provincial and other direct subordinates. In order to confirm the main body of law enforcement, it is necessary to go to the site to investigate the location of the deforested sites.

At the same time, Director Yue said that Shangzhi Forestry Bureau did receive relevant reports, and had received calls from informants themselves, and had sent staff to the scene to investigate. But the local management is confused. The management unit should belong to the state-owned forest sites, not to the local management.

For Heilongjiang Province issued a circular in 2015 not to allow deforestation species and other related provisions, Director Yue said that there are indeed provisions, deforestation species and ginseng are firmly not allowed under any circumstances, once found, we must resolutely crack down.

Source: Upstream News Editor of Chongqing Morning News: Li Wan_B11284