Beijing, China
City population:
Duration: 2012 – 2015
Implementation status: Completed
Scale: Meso-scale: Regional, metropolitan and urban level
Project area: 700000000 m2
Type of area: Central Business District / City Centre
Last updated: April 2022

To mitigate environmental pressures, including air pollution and urban heat island effects and to improve urban resilience, the municipal government in Beijing has launched the largest afforestation Programme in 2012, Beijing Plain Area Afforestation Programme (BPAP). The aim was to create huge forest patches, develop urban forest park clusters and optimise the large-scale forest patterns. By 2015, BPAP has created green strategies with nine green wedges, multiple green belts, and green corridors around Beijing's old city centre. More than 70,000 hectares of forest (more than 54 million trees) have been planted, and the survival rate has exceeded 95%. BPAP has been considered one of the most ambitious projects for a high-density urbanised area like Beijing. [1, 5]

Beijing Plain Area Afforestation Programme (BPAP)
Jin, J., Wang, C. and Jia, B. (2018) ‘Coupling analysis of landscape pattern and thermal fields after the afforestation in Beijing plain area’, Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 29(11), pp. 3723–3734. doi: 10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004.


Nature-based solution

  • Grey infrastructure featuring greens
  • Alley and street greens
  • Green parking lots
  • Green playgrounds and school grounds
  • Parks and urban forests
  • Large urban parks or forests
  • Pocket parks/neighbourhood green spaces
  • Green corridors and green belts

Key challenges

  • Climate action for adaptation, resilience and mitigation (SDG 13)
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Environmental quality
  • Air quality improvement
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Habitat and biodiversity restoration
  • Green space creation and/or management
  • Regeneration, land-use and urban development
  • Promotion of naturalistic urban landscape design
  • Health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Creation of opportunities for relaxation and recreation
  • Social justice, cohesion and equity (SDG 10)
  • Environmental education


Creation of new green areas, Ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems, Protection of natural ecosystems

Project objectives

1. To create huge forest patches, develop urban forest park clusters and optimize the large-scale forest patterns. 2. To improve the forest coverage and urban greenspace connectivity in urbanized areas by planting more than 54 million trees. 3. To enhance biodiversity. 4. To provide health and wellbeing benefits through the use of recreation facilities. 5. To provide educational facilities for local residents and visitors. [1, 3, 6, 7]

Implementation activities

More than 54 million trees were planted on an area of 1050000 mu (70000 hectares, with 1 mu equating to 1/15 of a hectare). By the end of the afforestation programme, there were 23 forest patches with areas exceeding 667 hectares and another 210 patches with areas greater than 67 hectares. Forests now cover 25.6 percent of the city plain, an increase of 42 percent. Large forest areas, large ecological corridors, nine green wedges and multiple green belts have been created. Afforestation and park construction have been accomplished simultaneously to provide shade, flower fragrances and habitats for birds as well as green corridors and squares for walking and recreation. Eighteen large special parks, such as the Locust Tree Park and the Qinglonghu Forest Park, and 500 recreational forests and green lands, have also been established. The finished section of the Dongjiao Forest Park (the city’s largest park) is ten times the size of New York’s Central Park. Additionally, the afforestation programme included the ecological restoration of sand excavation pits and wastelands. The pit land areas have been turned into suburban forest parks with more than 400 hectares. In four years the city has afforested 24267 hectares of ecologically fragile areas, including sandpits, sandy lands, pit ponds and polluted lands. Five areas vulnerable to sand storms, the Yongding River, the Chaobai River, the Dasha River, Kangzhuang and Nankou have been ecologically restored. [2, 5]

Climate-focused activities

Climate change adaptation:

  • Increase or improve urban vegetation cover to help reduce outdoor temperature
  • Create or improve outdoor spaces to help people escape from urban heat

Climate change mitigation:

  • Increase green urban nature for carbon storage (wetlands, tree cover)
  • Implement sustainable forest management measures to increase carbon sinks/ improve carbon storage

Biodiversity conservation or restoration-focused activities

Biodiversity restoration:

  • Rehabilitate and restore damaged or destroyed ecosystems
  • Restore species (native, endangered, or unspecified)
  • Public engagement

Main beneficiaries

  • Local government/Municipality
  • Public sector institution (e.g. school or hospital)
  • Researchers/University
  • Citizens or community groups


Management set-up

  • Government-led

Type of initiating organisation

  • Regional government
  • Local government/municipality

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Dissemination of information and education
  • Joint implementation (e.g. tree planting)

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The project was led by Beijing City, but research institutions and private companies have also implemented the project in detail. 1. Governing authorities: Beijing City - Capital Greening Office, Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau. 2. Associations: Beijing Municipal Commission of Planning and Natural Resources; Sciences and technology associations (e.g. education and cultural), cultural, and sports, non-government actors (e.g. project contractors, seedling nursery developers, NGO/volunteers, farmers, previous land contractors, scholars and social media). 3. Public/private institutions: Office of Planning and Development, Office of Voluntary Tree Planting (under the framework of Capital Greening Office); Municipalities of local districts (e.g District Gardening and Greening Bureaus); Research institutes or universities that have be involved in this project (e.g. Beijing Forestry University, Research Institute of Forestry Chinese Academy of Forestry). 4. Park planner and authorities: Beijing Beilin Landscape Architecture institute co. (private company). 5. Technicians for park maintenance/monitoring and to educate and support citizens: Office of Park Management (technicians, administrative personnel, and workers); Environmental Education Department. [4, 5]

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? No
... a national policy or strategy? Yes (In 2004, the Government of China launched the “Forest City Programme”, a national initiative to increase tree cover in and around urban areas with the aim of improving the liveability of cities for urban dwellers. In this framework, in 2012, Beijing initiated the largest afforestation programme. [3])
... a local policy or strategy? Yes (One Million Mu Plain Afforestation Project [1, 6] )


Total cost

More than €4,000,000

Source(s) of funding

  • Public regional budget
  • Public local authority budget

Type of funding

  • Earmarked public budget
  • Direct funding or subsidy

Non-financial contribution


Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Climate, energy and emissions
  • Lowered local temperature
  • Enhanced carbon sequestration
  • Environmental quality
  • Improved air quality
  • Improved protection against strong wind
  • Green space and habitat
  • Promotion of naturalistic styles of landscape design for urban development
  • Increased green space area
  • Reduced biodiversity loss
  • Increased number of species present

Economic impacts

  • Unknown

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Social justice and cohesion
  • Improved social cohesion
  • Improved access to urban green space
  • Increased involvement of locals in the management of green spaces
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Gain in activities for recreation and exercise
  • Cultural heritage and sense of place
  • Improvement in people’s connection to nature
  • Education
  • Increased knowledge of locals about local nature

Type of reported impacts

Achieved impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system


Presence of indicators used in reporting


Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports


Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records


Information about this nature-based solution was collected as part of the UNA global extension project funded by the British Academy.