Ready to enjoy the outdoors? This index tells you where to go

It's springtime in Beijing; many people are eager to venture outside and enjoy the lively vibe of the new season after being cooped up indoors during the long, cold winter. However, while the climate is unavoidably warming, fluctuating weathers still occur from time to time, presenting unpredictable elements for forest-goers.

To give a better understanding of their designated hiking locations prior to travel, Beijing began to release the Forest Experience Index (FEI) since the end of this March, the first time the city has offered such a service. Here is a brief overview of how this index helps people enhance their outdoor experiences.

The main components of the FEI are human comfort and health in forests, green spaces and wetlands, as well as the degree to which the ecosystem regulates itself under various climate and environmental conditions. Furthermore, a bonus parameter, biodiversity, will be included in guidelines to allow people to capture seasonal landscapes such as blooming flowers and migratory birds in time.

The FEI has four levels ranging from one to four, with one being the most desirable and four being the least.

Currently, the FEI forecasts cover 10 districts and 12 ecosystems within the city. When extreme weather occurs, the index drops to zero, indicating that people should avoid traveling in those areas for safety reasons.

All of the data needed for calculating the index is gathered from the Beijing Ecosystem Observatory Network (BEON), which has been monitoring the city's hydrology, soil, meteorology, biology and environment since 2022.

(Cover image via CFP)

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