There is 320,000 square km of land threatened by desertification
in China, a State Forestry Administration (SFA) official said on
"From 2001 to 2004, the area of sandy land shrank by 1,283
square km each year, but desertification is still menacing some
parts of China," Wang Xinjian, deputy director of the SFA's
Desertification Prevention Center, said at a seminar held in
Shanghai on curbing desertification.
According to a national survey conducted by the SFA in 2004, 18
percent, or 1.74 million sq km of China's territory, is sandland.
Direct economic losses from desertification is about 50 billion
yuan (US$6.8 billion) a year, affecting 400 million people.
Recent research has found ecological degradation at the
headwaters of the Yellow River and Yangtze River, China's two
biggest rivers, and signs of desertification have emerged in some
parts of the river source area, the official said.
"The SFA will reinforce protection in these areas by taking such
measures as restricting herding or logging," Wang said. "We hope
the public, especially the rural population, can be involved in
efforts on preventing desertification."
Sunday marks the World Day to Combat Desertification.
(Xinhua News Agency June 18, 2007)