BEIJING, February 24, Xinhua -- China strengthened efforts to prevent and control desertification, with land affected by desertification decreasing for 15 consecutive years at the end of 2019, official data showed.
Workers sow grass seeds to prevent desertification in Zhongwei, Ningxia Hui autonomous region, last year. [Photo/Xinhua]
A total of 2.26 million hectares of desertified land, as well as 250,000 hectares of stony desertified land, was fixed in 2019, according to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA).
The country treated over 14 million hectares of desertified land from 2012 to 2019 and set up several sand prevention and control projects, reducing the frequency and strength of sand and dust storms in north China.
Forest coverage also rose in China, with 106 million mu (about 7.07 million hectares) of forest planted, 114 million mu of forest tended and 12.85 million mu of farmland returned to forest in 2019, NFGA data showed.
The country's sand industry, which involves sub-sectors of timber, animal feed, herbal medicine, fruits and desert tourism, posted robust growth, lifting over 10 million people out of poverty in 12 sandy regions of North China from 2017 to 2019.