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Across China: 3,500-year-old cypress tree in Beijing regains vitality

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BEIJING, July 6 (Xinhua) — A 3,500-year-old cypress tree in Beijing’s suburban Miyun District has regained its vitality as evidenced by its young sprouts and fresh fruits, thanks to the government’s protection efforts.

Believed to be the oldest tree in the Chinese capital, the cypress is 11.5 meters in height with the circumference of its trunk measuring about 8.2 meters. Nine adults had to stand hand in hand to encircle its massive trunk, said Jiang Xin, who works with the forestry and parks bureau of Miyun.

Jiang added that the tree was once struggling to survive due to an adjacent stone fence and an adjoining cement road that prevented its roots from growing, resulting in malnutrition.

“Ancient trees are of great cultural, historical and ecological significance,” said Qu Hong, a staff member with the Office of Beijing Greening Commission.

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To save this ancient tree, botanists and experts from the Beijing Municipal Forestry and Parks Bureau, Institute of Botany at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Beijing Forestry University made multiple on-site visits to thoroughly examine the tree.

“We decided to reroute the road away from the cypress and demolish the surrounding buildings that cover an area of about 1,400 square meters, to make room for the tree,” Jiang said.

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Cong Richen, an expert with the Beijing Institute of Landscape Architecture, explained that the specific distribution of the intertwined roots was detected through radar, and after four days of careful efforts, the stone fence was demolished in March this year.

In May, a park was built around the cypress, creating a forest ecosystem that is conducive to the plant’s growth and beneficial for the surrounding ecological environment.

“The park has become a place of leisure and recreation and has also helped boost local tourism,” said Feng Xiaogang, deputy head of Xinchengzi Township in Miyun District.

According to the Office of Beijing Greening Commission, 20 pilot protection zones for ancient trees have been set up in the city and such protection efforts for ancient trees will continue to be promoted.

Thanks to effective environmental conservation measures, Beijing today has a more resilient and sustainable ecosystem than before, Qu noted.

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