Tibetan college graduate returns to hometown to take on task of greening, restoring grassland

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Publish Time: 2021-11-18 Author: From: People’s Daily Online

Cattle, sheep herds and lush grasslands form a part of the childhood memory of Padma Chodron, a 24-year-old Tibetan woman from Konggar County in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. However, due to ecological degradation, she hasn’t been able to appreciate the fullness of the gifts from nature for some time now.

Padma Chodron acquires data about grass and soil on the grassland, Nov.10, 2021. (Photo/Trinle Tendar)

“In winter seasons, due to a scarce supply of grass, the cattle and sheep had nothing to eat other than chewing paper boxes,” Padma Chodron recalled.

After her graduation from Tianjin Agricultural University, Padma Chodron joined a grassland restoration project that encompassed work carried out on nearly 300 mu (20 hectares) of degraded grassland in Qusum County. The project also represented China’s first pilot grassland ecology restoration project at an elevation of between 4,000 and 4,500 meters. Padma Chodron’s job has been to monitor the conditions of the grassland and acquire data for scientific research.

Plagued by desertification and marauding rats, the ecological functions and economic effects of the grassland have since undergone a sharp drop. Thus, the question of how to restore the grassland became an urgent task for Padma Chodron and her colleagues.

After they planted grass plants, Padma Chodron would go check on the grass once every half a month to analyze the height, coverage and density of the grass, as well as the pH value of the soil. At a lab established for research purposes, there are 10 professors and engineers from universities and research institutes working alongside Padma Chodron. So whenever she stumbled upon any problems, the young woman could always get support from the experts.

Photo taken on Aug. 25, 2021 shows lush green grassland in Qusum County, Tibet Autonomous Region. (Photo/Padma Chodron)

In June 2021, Padma Chodron and local villagers planted grass in patches of soil. It was not until August when the rainy reason arrived when the grass started to begin growing well. At present, the grass has grown to a height of 60 centimeters. To record the growth of the grass, the young Tibetan would venture towards the grassland with tools in hand to measure and write down data on the grass she found and the soil down beneath her feet. In view of the successful cultivation of the grass, the department supervising the pilot decided to increase the area of grassland to be restored under the project to 20,000 mu.

This was good news for Padma Chodron, who hoped that the project could be further expanded so that she could contribute even more to restoring the ecological environment in her hometown.

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