Source : Xinhua News Agency
Desertification Remains Serious in China: Official
BEIJING, June 17
(Xinhuanet) -- Nearly 20 percent of China's land territory has turned to
desertified land due to natural and human factors, and overall
desertification keeps on worsening, according to the national forestry
The total area of desertified land has reached 1.743
million sq. km, or 18.2 percent of the total land area of the country, and it
is expanding with 3,436 sq. km per year, said Zhou Shengxian, director
State Forestry Administration (SFA). "The overall
situation of desertification is still worsening in China, even though in some
areas it has been under control," Zhou said here Monday at an event to mark
the annual World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.
He took both natural and human factors, especially successive droughts in
recent years, as causes of the worsening situation.
China is one of the countries in the world suffering from desertification problems in
terms of reduction of arable land, degradation of ecological environment,
and poverty of residents in desert areas. China has carried
out large-scale anti-desertification projects, including a decade-long forest
shelterbelt project in the northwestern, northern and northeastern regions,
and a new afforestation program to shelter the Beijing-Tianjin area from
sandstorms. Zhou said the two projects are vital to national
desertification-control campaign since they cover more than 85 percent
of the desertified land.
"China aims to basically control the
expansion of desertified land by the year 2010, and to establish a shelter
ecosystem in desert areas by 2050," he said. The SFA and the
National Greening Committee have called for redoubled efforts in
afforestation throughout the country. Hundreds of individuals and units were
given special honors here Monday for their outstanding contributions to the
desertification- control campaign.