Despite Small Successes, China Struggles to Contain Spreading Deserts – Luis Ramirez

From VOA News:

For years, experts have warned of the giant dust bowl that is forming in northwestern China. Overgrazing, overuse of land, and drought have created what some agronomists say is the world’s biggest transformation of productive land into desert. Official estimates say the deserts, advancing by thousands of square kilometers a year, now make up between 18 and 27 percent of China’s surface. Experts in China’s rural communities say the phenomenon is contributing to massive migration and possibly threatening food production.

Zhang, a 70-year-old farmer, stands in a cornfield, sifting a handful of powdery sand through his fingers.

It is this light brown colored sand, Zhang says, that blew with the wind a few years ago and nearly buried his house here in Langtougou village, less than 200 kilometers from the capital, Beijing. [Full Text]

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