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China Boosts Desertification Control as An Industry

China will strive to boost the prevention and control of desertification as an industry to improve its ecosystem, officials from the State Forestry Administration (SFA) said Thursday in Beijing.


Addressing a forum on desert control, Zhu Lieke, deputy director of the SFA, said that desertification had become a serious problem in China, so it was imperative to confront the threat.


Zhu said that the promotion of the "desert industry" should be taken as a top priority.


A desert industry, which was first proposed by Chinese scientist Qian Xuesen in 1984, refers to all desert-based agricultural and forestry economies targeted at the control of desertification and a sustainable development of resources.


According to statistics, China has a total of 1.74 million sq. km of decertified land, covering 18.2 percent of the country's territory. Also, 13 million hectares of farmland and 100 million hectares of grassland are exposed to the threat of desertification scourge.


Zhu noted that the country will make efforts to establish a stable and booming desert industry within 50 years to curb desertification.


China's desert industries are mostly located in the country's northern and northwestern areas. After two decades' development, Zhu acknowledged, they have already become mainstays of local economy.


The forum on desertification control is part of China's first desert industry expo, which opened Thursday and will last three days.


The expo will attract more enterprises to desertification control, Liu Tuo, a sand control official with SFA, said. A total of 142 enterprises involving in forestry, environment, water conservancy, agriculture and the petroleum industry, from 22 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions will take part in the expo.


(People’s Daily November 7, 2003)


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