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China Publishes First Map of Desert, Desertification

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has for the first time published a map of deserts and desertification, which shows that the total area of China's sand, gobis and stone deserts is 1.57 million square kilometers.

China's sand deserts cover an area of 684,000 square kilometers, including 446,000 kilometers of shifting deserts.

Most of the deserts are found in western China, covering an area of 582,000 sq kms, and the east, which has deserts of 102,000 sq kms, according to the map.

The largest deserts include Taklimakan, Badain Jaran, Gurbantunggu, Tengger and Qaidam.

Wang Tao, a leading desertification control scientist in northern China and chief editor of the map, said that a large area of arid land in northern China has entered the initial stage of desertification.

Wang said that light and medium level desertification can be contained by urgently restricting improper human activities.

Overgrazing in pastures, he noted, will expose them to desertification in the coming ten years.

Desertification in western China will also continue as the result of drastic water shortage, Wang said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 11, 2005)

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