Desertification is worsening in Tibet, said a local official Wednesday.
File photo: Desert in Tibet
Desertified land, which currently covered 21.7 million hectares and accounted for 18 percent of Tibet's territory, was expanding 39,600 ha annually, said Sangye Drawa, Party chief with the regional forestry bureau of Tibet.
Drawa said that causes of desertification in the plateau region were its dry weather and low forest coverage rate of just 11.3 percent.
The forest coverage rate in China is almost 20 percent, according to the State Forestry Administration.
Overgrazing, cutting of trees and mining were adding to the problem in the region, Drawa noted.
Tibet is trying to curb the spread of desert by afforestation programs and closing some grassland.
"By 2010, we hope to achieve zero growth in deserts and by 2020, half of the desertified land that can still be reversed, will be fixed," said the official.
(Xinhua News Agency June 18, 2009)