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China’s Ready-Made Urban Forests

Since the past few years, the Chinese government has been planting thousands of trees in cities across the country hoping to create an urban forest that would fight pollution as well as bring shade to public spaces. The effort is laudable, but if you are to investigate the origin of some of these trees, you’ll discover a disturbing process. A large number of these trees were not grown in their current urban location, but were relocated as mature trees from rural areas.

“The whole concept of trying to be green is being abused,” says Chinese photographer Yan Wang Preston, who uncovered the disconcerting trend more than five years ago while working on a project to photograph the entire length of the Yangtze river at 100 km intervals.