Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Desertification Costs China Over 54 Billion Yuan Annually

China is one of the countries suffering the most serious desertification in the world. Every year it sees a direct economic loss of over RMB 54 billion yuan.


According to the news of May 20, 2002 from China News Service, China is one of the countries suffering the most serious desertification in the world. Every year it sees a direct economic loss of over RMB 54 billion yuan as revealed from the Workshop on the "Water and Land Desertification" held in Beijing by the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Knowledge on Desertification
"...'desertification' means land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities;

'combating desertification' includes activities which are part of the integrated development of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas for sustainable development..."
---UNCCD, Article 1
As learned, the result of the second remote-sensing investigation conducted by the Ministry of Water Conservancy on the water and soil erosion in the country shows, the land desertification in China happens mainly in the wind-erosion areas, concentrating in the northwest and north of the North China. The middle of 1990s saw the wind-eroded area reach 1.91 million square kilometers and 260,000 square kilometers were devastated by water and wind erosion in the country.

Among them, the light wind-eroded area came to 790,000 square kilometers, moderate wind-eroded area 250,000 square kilometers and 250,000 square kilometers were eroded by strong wind while the area eroded by extremely strong wind came to 270,000 square kilometers and the area eroded by violent wind added up to 350,000 square kilometers.

The most seriously wind-eroded areas mainly spread out in the desert and Gobi areas in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Tibet autonomous regions and Qinghai and Gansu provinces. As compared with the first remote-sensing result, the wind-eroded areas witness an intensification trend in China. Up to now, every year still sees a continuous expansion of land deterioration and desertification as to reach more than 3,000 square kilometers.

According to the analysis of experts present at the seminar, the major reason for the land desertification in China lies in such natural factors as dryness, scanty rainfall and strong wind.

However, the unreasonable activities of human development and construction only serve to intensify the continuous expansion of the land desertification.

Experts present at the seminar are of the opinion that though China witnessed achievements during recent years in the ecological construction in some areas yet the deterioration hasn't been effectively checked as a whole and it sees a continuous extension of land deterioration and desertification.

So experts suggest that an all-round plan for a scientific and comprehensive prevention and harnessing of the sand be worked out in accordance with the natural, social and economic conditions of the wind and sand areas by summing up scientifically the practical experiences gained in the long past in the prevention and taming of the sand.

To achieve this, it is necessary to handle correctly the relationship between the economic construction and ecological protection, adhere to the way for scientific harnessing and perfect the mechanism of it so as to realize a sustainable development of society and economy in China by relying on the joint efforts of the whole society in curbing the expansion of the land desertification.

By PD Online Staff Han Rongliang

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