The poetry of “Straight lonely smoke rises in the desert, grand long river reflects the round sun sets” written by Wang Wei (Tang Dynasty in China) is my first impression of the desert. The sun was setting. It was almost dark when I was arrived the Niu YuQin’s desert control demonstration base in Yulin, Shaanxi. The scene in front of me completely upended my understanding of the desert.
Here, you cannot see a scene of Yellow Sand Everywhere. There were full of lush forest, grassland and fertile land on both sides of winding and hardening path. I can't see the other end of the vibrant green. Blue sky is without motley. The fresh air is with the scent of herbs, when took a deep breath of refreshing coolness, fatigue feeling in the trip has disappeared immediately. Only in the presence of the scene, people can truly feel the beautiful harmony of people use nature and transform nature.
Project Completion (2009)
Operated for 7 Years Without Failure (2016)
Project Completion (2011)
Operated for 6 Years Without Failure (2016)
In the process of walking together with Zhang Liqiang (Niu Yuqin’s 3rd son), CEO of Luyuan Desert Control Co., Ltd., when talked about the story of the desert control demonstration, he was always full with passion and permeated with a happy smile on his face. In the past here was a wasteland and nobody liked the place. 30 years was past from his parents signed the desert control contract with Dongkeng Town government. Through continuous attempts and efforts, they achieved what they have today. In the face of the vibrant scene, I can't help but admire the spirit of the hardworking, brave and unyielding spirit of the forest.
Yellow Sand Everywhere (2009)
Lush Vegetation (2011)
Sand Plant Grows Well (2012)
Plants Thrived (2016)
Over the past decade or more, Niu Yuqin and her family has been spent most of their time to tenaciously struggle with desert, and actively look for the more scientific, more efficient, and more harmonious desert control method. Zhang Liqiang proposed the concept of "desert economy" and "desert productivity", which means that it is not only about improving ecology, but also gaining the economic benefits from desert. There are a lot of land can be reclaimed in sandy waste area. After a solid ecological basis is laid, the economic crops can be planted. Solartech solar pumping irrigation system is to adjust measures to local conditions which can make the disadvantage in the desert into available resources. It makes full use of solar energy and converts it into electricity, driving pump to lift underground water for water-saving irrigation. It can provide the most effective solution for desert control. In desert control base, sets of solar panels are neatly arranged; the water tank and the irrigation equipment are running normally. The water extracted by the solar pumping system is continuously flowing out, downing the pipeline, slight spraying along the drip irrigation equipment and other water-saving irrigation equipment to the thick forests and vegetable plantations to moisten the dry land.
Project Completion (2009)
Pumping Water Successfully
3 Days Later, Watermelon Seedling Appeared
3 Months Later, Watermelon Harvest
Jun 12, 2009, Solartech solar pumping system was built in the “National Labor Hero Niu Yuqin Desert Control Center” in Yulin, Shaanxi province, it guarantees the irrigation water supply for commercial corps and forests at the desert edge. It is the first solar commercial corp irrigation project in Maowusu desert.
Solartech PS3000 (3kW) solar pumping system connected with drip irrigation system, implements full automatic drip irrigation for the desert commercial corps in 7 hectares sand area. Using micro-gravity drip irrigation system to fertilize can reduce the usage of fertilizer and pesticide as well as pollution to environment. It can save 70% water comparing to flooding irrigation, also the surviving rate of the seedlings had been raised from 30% to 95%.
Heavy Sandstorm (2009)
Pleasant Nature Scenery (2012)
Zhang Liqiang commented that why Solartech solar pumping system was highly praised by the users, the key is the system can help them to save the cost of electric bills. He added that in order to install a drip irrigation system on the demonstration base, the investment cost for getting access to the grid was 300,000RMB. The annual electricity charge was 30,000 RMB. What was worse, the electric wires should be replaced by new wires every 10 years. The maintenance cost is very expensive. The main labor force was elderly men and women. With solar pumping system, it not only can save a lot of money, but also can help to reduce the heavy labor work for carrying water.
Currently, Solartech solar pumping systems were widely used for providing the irrigation water for pinus sylvestris, watermelon, dates, alfalfa, potatoes, cherry, peach and other vegetables and fruits.
The alfalfas and corns can be used for keeping pigs and sheep. The livestock dung can be used to produce biogas. The biogas slurry is an excellent fertilizer which can enrich the nutrient content of barren sand land. It is not to be expected that the gooses like a natural weeding team. They eat freshly weeds sprout shoots, rather than destroy crops. It is really like a way of “agriculture feeding animal husbandry, animal husbandry feeding forestry”. The integrated green circular economy created a new mode of sand prevention and sand industry development.
Gooses “Natural Weeding Team”
Zhang Liqiang told me that they plan to install more solar pumping system in next few years. Where there is a desert control project, a solar pumping system will be installed there. Five or six o’clock in the morning, I was woken by the noise of the bulldozer. He had already bulldozed several plots of land. Two of new big solar pumping systems will be installed here. He shared me his new idea that he plan to build a large reservoir to store more water. On the premise of meeting the irrigation demand, he wants to start a new business - fisheries & aquaculture. The saying of “Only unexpected, nothing is impossible” is constantly proved on this desert.
With her life's struggle in desert control, Niu Yuqin has made impossible to possible which brought hopes to those people who live or work in the desert and make them willing to work in desert. Their successful practice of desert economy encourages more people to invest in the desert economy. Niu Yuqin's desert control demonstration base was rated as the national agricultural tourism demonstration base and also was designated as one of the education bases of the communist party in Jingbian county and one of the education bases of ecological civilization. In recent years, the provincial and municipal forestry department has invested to build a "Niu Yuqin Desert Control Exhibition Hall," which is one of the places where people learn the spirit of planting trees. Niu Yuqin’s advanced achievement has been made into a TV program. Her spirit of working in desert control and forestation for over decades already is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people; her tenacious spirit, industrious and the image of the sand is more like a spiritual monument stands in northern Shaanxi land, flashing dazzling light.
China has more than 260 square kilometers deserts and more than 170 square kilometers of the desertification lands which need to be controlled or governed. Famous scientist Qian Xuesen proposed the concept of sand industry in 1984. Through 7 years actual usage in Niu Yuqin desert control demonstration base, it has shown that solar pumping system is very suitable for use in the desert region. The system can greatly enhance the survival rate of desert plant trees and grow grass, improve the comprehensive benefit of sand prevention, reduce cost and redundant construction. In those sand land or desert where with relative good nature condition, it can be used for developing of vegetable, melon and fruit, grasses, herbs and other economic crops planting industry which can change the single form of desert prevention and control to be a green circular economy. Solar pumping system can be integrated conveniently with all kinds of water-saving irrigation system. Comparing with the inefficient and wasteful flood irrigation, according to the different needs of plants in different growth periods, solar pumping system can work with spray irrigation and drip irrigation to water the plants to reduce the water of water and fertilizer, and improve the efficiency and economic benefits. At the same time, solar pumping system utilizes the solar energy as power source which conform well to country’s industrial policies of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, developing green low carbon and circular economy, is a key technology in desert control, ecological restoration and developing sand industry.