China : fighting desertification in Xinjiang (Google Alert / China Daily)

Rea at :

Google Alert for Desertification

China Daily

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-07/10/content_5432070.htm
China works to fight desertification in Xinjiang

(Xinhua)
Updated: 2007-07-10 19:39
URUMQi — China plans to invest 18.7 billion yuan (US$2.46B) in the next eight years to try to roll back desertification in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the regional government announced Tuesday. The investment is earmarked to prevent the further expansion of the Gurbantunggut Desert in the Junggar Basin of northern Xinjiang, and the expansion of the Taklimakan Desert in the Tarim Basin in the south of the region. The money will be spent building forest belts around cities and oasis areas, upgrading irrigation facilities, setting up monitoring stations and training professional staff, said Ismail Tiliwaldi, chairman of the region.

The central government will cover 80 percent of the total investment, and the remaining 20 percent will be financed by the regional government, he said, adding that the aim is to cut the desert area by 7.6 million hectares by 2015.

Xinjiang is among Chinese regions most affected by desertification. Statistics from the regional government show 75 million hectares of the region’s land, or 45 percent of its total, is desert. At least 12 million people suffer the consequences, ranging from drinking water shortages to cropland infertility.

Before the 1980s, residents of Qira county on the southern edge of Junggar Basin had to relocate three times to avoid being devoured by sand.

“The desert is expanding less rapidly now. We have managed to reduce the speed of expansion from 38,400 hectares a year to 10,400 hectares a year, but the situation is still very severe,” Tiliwaldi said.

Earlier reports say excessive herding and farming has worsened soil erosion and desertification in the region. An official with the regional water resources administration said irrational human activities have undermined the government’s soil conservation efforts.

Zhang Funian, an engineer in the region’s rural resources work station, said residents in Hotan County near the Taklimakan Desert are still using wood as fuel, because they cannot afford coal. Every family cuts 500 kilograms of wood every year.

Since 2003, the county has invested about 200 million yuan (US$26M) to install methane gas facilities to prevent people from cutting down any more trees.

Local residents are also being encouraged to plant trees that resist desertification, such as poplars, desert dates and sea buckthorns, Zhang said.

Xinjiang has worked with countries including Japan and the Republic of Korea to fight desertification.

In 2006, China and South Korea co-invested 1.8 million US dollars to build a shelter forest in the Gobi Desert off Aydingkol Lake in the Turpan Basin.

Statistics from the State Forestry Administration show China has 174 million square kilometers of desert, accounting for 18.1 percent of the country’s territory.

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About Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.
This entry was posted in afforestation, capacity building, Desertification, erosion, Forestry, Pastoralism / animal husbandry, reforestation, sand storms, Social dimensions, Water. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to China : fighting desertification in Xinjiang (Google Alert / China Daily)

  1. A MILLION TREES FOR THE AMAZON RAINFOREST
    The original –and brillant- idea belongs from Alex Tew,

    age 21, english student, and came out to generate

    himself economic resources for his university studies.

    The objective was to sell advertising spaces of 10 x

    10 pixels (minimum visible space) which cost one

    dollar each, on an extension of one million pixels. All

    the pixels were sold, and Alex has already his million

    dollar. The million site is becoming an icon for

    internet.

    Many people had follow his steps, with different

    purposes.

    Macarena Rosales, a peruvian eco-tourism lover, has

    a dream. The idea came out during a trip to the

    Peruvian Amazonia. She went to Codo del Pozuzo

    (Huánuco Region), and was delighted with its people

    and customs, as as with the beauty of the Forest,

    and specially for a principal characteristic: Codo del

    Pozuzo is almost a virgin town in the sense that,

    although it is a town, Pozuzo is not contaminated by

    other Peruvian cities´ damaging activities, such as

    nonregulated trade, delinquency, informalism and

    other economic growth impediments.

    The whole region is untouched for the

    abovementioned situations because of perhaps its

    difficult access and maybe for being a colony directly

    coming from German descendants who reached this

    place fascinated with the green tropical rainforest of

    the Amazonia of Huánuco and settled there many

    years until present.

    Macarena was talking to the villagers and making a

    kind of vivential tourism when she was informed about

    the sale of a piece of land which was deforestated

    for shepherding. Returning to Lima, after thinking a lot

    and having many talks about it, the idea of the

    project was conceived. She was full motivated and

    she intended not only to exploit and transform again

    that land into a small piece of lung of the Amazonia,

    but to give the surrounding communities the

    opportunity to economically take advantage of it in a

    conscious and ecological way. She wanted to

    promote reforestation and benefit both the

    environment as well as the ecosystem. And this is not

    definitely a cheap project.

    She was looking for a way to finance her dream

    effectively and creatively. A system generating the

    necessary funds to the project development without

    asking for donations. Then she happened to read

    about Alex’s project, and decided to create

    http://www.themilliontreeshomepage.com. A pixel-selling

    site, but with a very important purpose: she is going

    to plant one tree for pixel. If all the pixels are sold,

    there will be one million trees!

    The found enclave for the project is a large piece of

    land of private property of 285 entitled Has., from

    which 80 Has. is a protected area (reserved) and the

    rest was used for shepherding.

    Macarena talked to the local authorities to have the

    possibility to extend this type of project to the local

    communities, promoting responsible reforestation and

    exploitation of cattle and forest resources without

    damaging the ecosystem, just benefiting it.

    Macarena Rosales has a dream, and wants her

    million… One million trees.

    http://www.themilliontreeshomepage.com

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