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Online tree adoptions prove popular

( China Daily ) 2024-03-14

For three years, a Shanghai woman has marked National Tree-planting Day, on March 12, by paying 8,000 yuan ($1,100) to adopt a cypress tree for a year.

The 80-year-old tree in Guyiyuan, a garden in Shanghai's Jiading district dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644), is among thousands available for online adoption in gardens and parks throughout Shanghai in a program initiated in 2017.

Positioned at the entrance to Guyiyuan's Plum Flower Hall, the cypress is one of the most expensive to adopt. Typically, the cost of adopting a tree in most parks hovers around 90 yuan a year.

Each adopter receives an electronic adoption certificate, and can check and renew their adoption status online.

The annual adoption event, which traditionally commences on Tree-planting Day, has become so popular that many people set timers to ensure they can bid as soon as adoptions open.

This year, as in previous years, trees listed for adoption in Shanghai Binjiang Forest Park, including beauty plums and magnolias, were adopted within minutes, along with nearly 300 plum trees in Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden, 200 ginkgo trees in Huangxing Park and numerous other trees in various parks.

Xie Zhenyang, a science popularizer at Shanghai Botanical Garden in Xuhui district, said the most sought-after plants are those that are visually appealing, particularly spring-flowering plants in pink and red hues, such as cherry trees, peach trees and crabapples, as well as plant species highly recognized in Shanghai, such as the white magnolia, the city's flower.

"They are usually booked within seconds," Xie said.

While adopting a decades-old tree can be costly, it is also highly regarded. Wang Guanfei, responsible for tree adoptions in Guyiyuan, said many Chinese view it as a means of accumulating good deeds and benefiting future generations.

Li Min, the contact person for online tree adoptions at Shanghai Botanic Garden, said many people had phoned since Tuesday to complain about not being able to secure a tree or to inquire about how to adopt one before it was too late.

She said Shanghai has been promoting tree adoptions for years, with the city's botanic garden previously organizing popular tree planting and adoption events around Tree-planting Day.

Since 2017, Shanghai has been a pioneer with its Internet + Voluntary Tree Planting program, offering convenient online adoption and care services through various platforms, including the Government Online-Offline Shanghai app and the Green Shanghai WeChat account. These platforms streamline the process of tree adoption and care online, enabling a one-click completion of tasks such as selecting the area, tree species and payment, making the adoption process more transparent and convenient.

"Thanks to media promotion over the years, many people have become aware of the various online Shanghai voluntary tree planting and adoption platforms," Li said. "With access as easy as a click away, it's no wonder many trees are booked within minutes."

She said those who have already adopted a tree have priority to continue its adoption, which remains valid as long as they pay the annual fee on time.

"That's why when online adoption opens, many trees are already booked," Li said.

Sometimes a tree reappears on the adoption platform when someone forgets to renew.

"That's when one might be able to secure an adoption," she said. "All you need to do is check the adoption platform from time to time."

MAIL TO DISTRICT CHIEFjiading@jiading.gov.cn

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