China has claimed considerable success in containing desertification as new data showed the country’s stony desert areas shrank to 12 million hectares by the end of 2011, down 7.4 per cent from 2005.
“Stony deserts have been shrinking at an annual rate of 1.27 per cent over the past few years,” Zhang Yongli, deputy director of China’s State Forestry Administration (SFA) told media here.
“The spread of stony deserts has initially been brought under control, and the ecological environment in Karst regions has greatly improved,” Zhang said.
Afforestation and vegetation protection, the adjustment of rural energy structure and the application of modern agricultural technologies contributed a lot to the ecological restoration in the stony desert regions, Zhang said.
However, Zhang also warned that the country still faces severe challenges in fighting desertification, as stony deserts still cover 120,000 square km of land and destructive farming practices, excessive land reclamation and overgrazing, still exist in some poor rural regions.
“Frequent natural disasters such as droughts and freezing weather have also posed difficulties in combating desertification,” Zhang said.