Soil erosion is becoming a major problem in northwest China's
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region as excessive herding and farming
have outpaced the government's conservation efforts.
A recent national remote-sensing survey showed 1.03 million sq
km of land in Xinjiang were now suffering from soil erosion.
Xinjiang is blamed for nearly 30 percent of China's total
acreage of soil erosion, the regional water resources
"The region has a vulnerable ecology. Besides natural factors,
human activities are largely to blame for the deteriorating soil
erosion," an official in charge of soil conservation said.
He pointed to excessive herding on pastureland and farming along
the Tarim River, the largest inland river in the southern part of
"Irrational human activities have far outpaced the government's
soil conservation efforts," the official, who asked not to be
As a result, desertification is affecting 80 of Xinjiang's 90
counties and cities and nearly two-thirds of its territory. At
least 12 million people are suffering the consequences, ranging
from drinking water shortages to cropland infertility.
The regional water resources administration said sand sediments
have taken up a third of the total storage capacity of local
reservoirs and at least one-third of its arable land has become
Meanwhile, deserts are growing by at least 100 sq km annually in
Xinjiang, it said.
Xinjiang has conducted three remote-sensing surveys and set up a
monitoring network to track its soil erosion.
By diverting nearly 2.3 billion cu m of water to save the
endangered vegetation along the lower reaches of the Tarim River,
Xinjiang has improved the river ecology over the past six
At the end of 2005, the region had curbed soil erosion on more
than 7,400 sq km of land.
(Xinhua News Agency July 3, 2007)