Erosion could wipe away more than 61,600 square kilometers of
land by 2010 as China gears up economic development, said Vice
Water Resources Minister E Jingping on Friday.
The figure represents an increase of 11.5 percent from the
amount lost from 2001 to 2005, he added.
E said the situation had deteriorated as the country stepped up
urbanization and industrialization.
Soil erosion was commonly believed to be caused by economic
activities that destroyed plants and failed to allow them to
regenerate, as well as by natural conditions.
Overgrazing, deforestation, hillside farming, mining and road
construction were frequently cited as examples of irrational
Erosion made the land less fertile or turned the soil into sand,
and could affect agricultural production and lead to more frequent
natural disasters such as drought.
Farmers would suffer most as the natural environment
The area affected by soil erosion expanded by about 15,000 sq km
in China every year due to man-made factors, causing an increase of
300 million tons of soil loss annually, said E.
"It will harm the country's economic and social development if
we don't have effective measures to address the problem," said
The ministry said it published a circular to strengthen soil
conservation assessment of new projects in an effort to check the
It stressed that projects that would change more than 70 percent
of the natural physiognomies of an area to be developed, or damaged
more than 70 percent of the plants there should fail soil
E said the country had reversed soil erosion over an area of
960,000 square kilometers, or 10 percent of its total land area, by
the end of 2006 as efforts to fight soil erosion paid off.
Soil conservation efforts also helped increase grain production
by 18 billion kilograms a year and improved livelihoods for more
than 13 million residents in areas affected by soil erosion.
(Xinhua News Agency June 30, 2007)