Chinese Great Green Wall is finally starting to reverse the desertification (Google / China Topix)

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Great Green Wall of China is Finally Holding Back the Desert

Michael A. Katz

After decades of growth and patience, a massive swath of trees planted across bone-dry northern China nearly 40 years ago is finally starting to reverse the desertification of the region.

In what is likely the largest ecological engineering project in history, China’s Great Green Wall (officially known as the Three-North Shelter Forest Program) was started in 1978 and was created to fend off the encroaching Gobi desert. It is due to be completed in 2050, and is expected to contain more than 100 billion trees in a band covering more than one-tenth of China.

“Vegetation has improved and dust storms have decreased significantly in the Great Green Wall region, compared with other areas,” Minghong Tan of the Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resource Research in Beijing told New Scientist.

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Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.