CHINA, February 23, China Daily -- Being the world’s largest desertification area, China has set a good example in making achievements of desertification control.

thumb TOPIC-KEY PROGRAM - 2.23 Innovation-based Desertification Control for the Improvement of Desert Areas

Wu Ping, DRC

First, with unremitting efforts made by China over the years, key ecological projects, like the Northwest, Northeast and North China Shelterbelt Projects, the sandstorm source control projects in Beijing and Tianjin, and returning farmland to forests and returning animal breeding grounds to pastures, have made progress. Currently, desertification has been put under control across the board, the total areas of desertification have been reduced, and the government function in controlling desertification has been enhanced with gratifying results. Over the past 30 years and more, sandy regions in western China have initially formed distinctive industries like forage grass, Chinese herbal medicine, economic fruit trees, and desert tourism. The past barren land is now full of vitality.

Second, China is still facing a long way to go in fulfilling desertification control tasks and there are some issues to be addressed. For instance, the overall benefits are not satisfactory as a result of simple investment mode, great financing pressure, sole dependence on state-funded investment, limited scale of industries in sandy areas, low degree of organization and lack of fund and technical knowhow. In general, the work for desertification control is not properly balanced in China.

Third, the concept of green development needs to be fostered and shored up by the protection of the rule of law. The government could take different ways and measures for desertification control. The system of the separation of three rights including land ownership right, contract right and management right needs to be fleshed out according to local conditions. Desert economy needs to be developed in an innovative way, and efforts need to be made to combine desertification control with the establishment of industries in sandy areas. The government needs to adopt a new mode of control focusing on “technological support, ecological restoration, industrial development and social progress”, make pilot practice for both desertification control and poverty alleviation through ecological development, conduct researches and demonstration projects and actively divert water resources to sandy areas.