HOHHOT, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Science and technology workers have successfully grown high-protein mulberry trees in the Ulan Buh Desert in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
A total of 66.67 hectares of mulberry trees have been planted so far in the mulberry planting base in Dengkou County in the city of Bayannur.
The high-protein mulberry tree has strong roots that can resist desert sandstorms, while it can grow fast in saline soil in hot and dry environments, said Yuan Yan, chief of the bureau of agriculture, animal husbandry, and science and technology of Dengkou County.
According to Yuan, planting mulberry trees in the desert will not only benefit the environment but also bring more income to local farmers.
The high protein content of its leaves and branches -- 36 percent and 28 percent, respectively -- also makes them an ideal food for both livestock and aquatic animals, said Yuan.
The trees are introduced and planted by the local Laobing farm biotechnology company.
Zhao Guang, general manager of the company, said judging from the planting situation this year, the output of leaves and branches is expected to reach up to 37.5 tonnes per hectare.
The planting area in the desert is estimated to expand to more than 667 hectares next year, according to Zhao.
The eighth-largest desert in China, the Ulan Buh Desert covers a total area of 1 million hectares. After 70 years of ecological management, more than 180,000 hectares of the desert have been planted with vegetation, which forms an ecological barrier.