The Tarim River in the southern part of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, also China's longest inland river, has been diverted to flow across the world's largest desert poplar forest as part of an ecological restoration campaign.
The sluices along the Tarim River are being opened gradually during the high-water season to channel water across some 15 million mu (about 1 million hectares) of desert poplar forest in the river's basin.
This is the fifth year for the ecological restoration project designed to nurture the drought-resistant plant that serves as a major greening force in south Xinjiang's deserts.
A total of nearly 8.2 billion cubic meters of water has flowed into the forest since 2016, and another inflow of 1.86 billion cubic meters of water is expected this year.
The region is seeing marked increases in vegetation and waterfowl. The biological diversity had almost doubled in the river's downstream area in the past four years, data from the Chinese Academy of Sciences showed.