China Sounds Retreat Against Encroaching Deserts – Simon Montlake

OCHINADESERT_P3.jpg From The Christian Science Monitor:

Behind the walled farmhouses, where fields of cotton and fennel bask in bright sunshine, the desert begins. Pale ochre sand dunes loom over rows of carefully tended crops that represent a lifetime of labor for the 21 families who live here.

As the desert closes in, this community has been told to leave, so that their fields can be replanted with native grass. Local authorities say this will revive the parched land and halt the sand dunes, and have promised new land and housing to villagers. The forced move is an admission that China’s grandiose plans to turn its arid land into farms have run dry. In recent years, China has met some success in slowing the sands by imposing curbs on grazing in Inner Mongolia and other measures. [Full Text]

[Image:Desert in the northwestern part of China, by Simon Montlake]

Click here to See the audio slideshow by Simon Montlake.

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