How to prevent desertification in NW China


Photo credit: Xinhua

Ecological barrier under construction to prevent desertification in NW China

Farmers build barriers with hay to create grid patterns that stabilize sand dunes in Minqin County, Wuwei, northwest China’s Gansu Province, Nov. 19, 2016. Local government planned to spend six years from 2015 to build an ecological barrier to stabilize sand and prevent desertification, which is 500km long and 1000 meters wide. (Photo/Xinhua)
Read the full story: People’s Daily

Willows and cottonwoods can be grown from cuttings into full, healthy plants to stabilize the soil.


Volunteers stabilize stream bank

The weather might have been cool and wet this fall, but that didn’t stop the Elk River Alliance and their amazing volunteers from joining forces to work on a couple of stream bank restoration projects.  Thanks to the world of ecological restoration, it is possible to stabilize and rehabilitate an eroded bank by using plants instead of conventional methods, such as riprap. A major benefit of using plants as opposed to conventional bank stabilization methods is that they add to the longterm health of the aquatic ecosystem by providing shelter, habitat and adding nutrients to the stream.

Stream banks can be bioengineered by placing live plant material in the side of the bank and allowing the material to grow. Many plant species, such as willows and cottonwoods, can be grown from cuttings into full, healthy plants.

This means that shoots can be harvested and planted in the fall while they are dormant and then in the spring, when it warms up and the snow melts, they will start to bud and grow roots and shoots. These roots will continue to grow into the eroded soil over the next several years and will stabilize the ground.

This is exactly what volunteers did to help a stream bank on Lizard Creek! The site had failed in 2013 and the ERA had previously banded together with concerned citizens and park users to restore the site. The slope was well on its way to becoming stabilized, but to reduce the erosion that was still occurring they came around for a second pass. More cottonwood and willow cuttings were harvested and planted into the bank between the existing rows. By this time next year, these new cuttings will already be stabilizing the soil.

Another way that stream banks can be stabilized is by planting young plants that will continue to grow in them. This technique is more costly, but can be equally effective if care is taken to give the plants their best shot with lots of water and soil amendments.

Read the full article: The Free Press


Success stories about food crops and drought-resistant plants





by Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem (Ghent University, Belgium)

Please read this article at:

Sand dune fixation in Iran: a TPN3 pilot project in 2002


Photo credit W. Van Cotthem : 

Rui ZHENG, participant of the UNCCD secretariat, at the official banner on the demonstration field (Photo WVC 2002 TPN3­05­ Rui ZHENG UNCCD.jpg).


Please find some information on this project:


2002-12-20 Iran TPN3-08--Oil mulching-Iran
Oil mulching for sand dune stabilisation (Photo WVC 2002 TPN3­08­Oil mulching­Iran.jpg)

Holding back the previous surge in desertification in Tibet


Tibet’s Six-year Sand Control Spans over 125,600 Hectares

Source : China Tibet Online

Author : Time : 06/10/2015

Editor : Tenzin Choedron

Since 2009, Tibet Autonomous Region has completed 125,600 hectares of desert control with a budget of 374 million yuan. It has had a significant effect on the region, holding back the previous surge in desertification.

The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has one of most serious desertification problems in the world. Tibet has a very weak ecological environment and is plagued with desertification and soil erosion, due to the high altitudes, cold climate and lack of forest vegetation. Currently, Tibet has 43,269,800 hectares of desert land and 21,618,600 hectares of sandy land. Desertification is widespread in Tibet covering a large area and the state of governance is strict.

Since the 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015), Tibet’s Forestry Department has laid out clear goals in relation to governance of desertification. Through policy, biological and structural measures they have carried out various control projects, such as implementation of an ecological security barrier to combat desertification, a special financial anti-desertification project, forest protection and others.

Read the full article: vtibet


Desertification Rehabilitation in China

Photo credit: Panoramio

Sand fixation in Bayingol, Xinjiang, P.R. China

How Sustainable Is Government-Sponsored Desertification Rehabilitation in China? Behavior of Households to Changes in Environmental Policies


This paper undertakes a direct, comprehensive assessment of the long-term sustainability of desertification rehabilitation in China under a plausible but worst case scenario where governmental interventions, in the form of payments for environmental services (PES), will cease. The analysis is based on household behavior as well as experimental data. Our econometric results highlight the main obstacles to the sustainability of rehabilitation programs subsequent to cessation of government intervention, including specific shortfalls in households’ preference for a free ride, budget constraints, attitudes, tolerance of and responsibility for desertification, and dissatisfaction with governmental actions. We conclude that desertification rehabilitation is not sustainable in China without continued governmental intervention. The results of this study are intended to support policy makers as they consider future directions for rehabilitation sustainability.

Read the full article: PLOS

Sand accumulation near the Straw Checkerboard Barriers

Photo credit: Google

Straw checkerboard barriers

Greater desertification control using sand trap simulations

A new simulation will help improve artificial sand-control measures designed to help combat desertification

Source: Springer Science+Business Media
A new simulation will help improve artificial sand-control measures designed to help combat desertification. In the fight against desertification, so-called straw checkerboard barriers (SCB) play a significant role. SCB consists of half-exposed criss-crossing rows of straws of wheat, rice, reeds, and other plants. Researchers have performed a numerical simulation of the sand movement inside the SCB. The results will help to understand sand fixation mechanisms that are relevant for sandstorm and land-desertification control.
Read the full article: Science Daily