Last year, the company that operates the park paid students to build seven giant sand sculptures as its centerpiece. One of the most common issues of climate change in the media is that the polar ice caps are melting. The Tengger is growing. Visitors also rent camels and dune buggies, and can pay to eat in the round Mongolian tents, called gers. Photo editing by Meaghan Looram. Mengkebuyin and Mandula have decided that they want their 16-year-old daughter to live and work in a city. An afforestation project to prevent the desert from expanding and to reduce the impacts of sand and dust storms on nearby residents was launched in Kekeya in 1986 and completed in 2015. He herds the sheep toward the old family home, where he can give the animals water. “The wind is fierce.”, The government encourages farmers like Mr. Guo because it says agriculture can help reclaim land from the desert. Population data from WorldPop. China has intensified its efforts to halt the expansion of deserts with further huge investment and greenbelt projects. The second is on the world’s … China's Gobi Desert. The Tengger is growing. Only about 15% of the trees planted since 1949 have survived. The family charges each tourist $4.50 to visit Swan Lake. Around 27% of China is covered in desert. It has messed up everything.”. But strong desert winds steadily eroded them. But China’s densely populated areas are pushing toward the deserts, as the deserts grow toward the cities. Kiki Zhao and Sarah Li contributed research. In the 1990s China’s deserts were expanding by 3,500 square kilometers every year, according to Luo Bin, deputy director of the National Bureau to Combat Desertification. Semi-arid land in China has expanded in recent decades and will probably continue to expand, with implications for food and water security. China now has the second largest desert in the world – the Taklimakan desert. For years, China’s deserts spread at an annual rate of more than 1,300 square miles. “They are all a mess now,” Mr. Guo said. Officials have given Jiali and her family a home in a village about six miles from Swan Lake, the oasis where they run a tourist park. According to statistics released by the State Forestry Administration, China has 2.6 million square km of desert that accounts for 27 percent of the country’s total land area. “We dread the sandstorms,” Ms. Du said. For years, China’s deserts spread at an annual rate of more than 1,350 square miles. The desert areas are scattered among 12 provincial-level regions in north China. This process increased during the 1960s and had the tendency to eliminate both forests and grasslands. Photographs and drone videos by Josh Haner. Nearly 20 percent of China is desert, and drought across the northern region is getting worse. In the five years to 2010, the authors estimated the area of desert had shrunk by an annual average of 1,717 square kilometres. And they can pay to eat in the round Mongolian tents, called gers. That is why we have decided to join in this titanic battle.” Many people in this area are from families that fled Minqin, at the western end of the Tengger Desert, during China’s Great Famine from 1958 to 1962, when tens of millions died. But strong desert winds steadily eroded them. Residents who live on the edge of the deserts try to limit the steady march of the sand. He said he was not ready to join the climate refugees. China's Environmental Protection Agency reports that the Gobi Desert expanded by 52,400 square kilometers (20,240 square miles) from 1994 to 1999, an area half the size of Pennsylvania. Oct. 24, 2016. Authorities worry that expanding deserts could put crops and water supplies in the world's second largest economy at risk. It’s not only a … Approximately 2.6 million square meters of land in China consist of only sand or rock desert. These trees needed more water and sucked the region dry. This project, also known as the Three-North Shelter Forest Programme, is being carried out in the North, Northeast and Northwest of China. China’s Gobi Desert. Huang Chunmei, who grew up in the town of Tonggunao’er and now farms there, said the water table was two meters, or about six feet, below ground during her childhood, and “now, you have to dig four or five meters.”. China this week revealed plans to drastically expand an experimental weather modification program to cover an area of over 5.5 million square kilometers (2.1 million square miles) — … He herds the sheep toward the old family home, where he can give the animals water. In China, nearly 20% of land area is desert. I had no idea that there was even a desert expansion issue occurring in China until i found this article. Ma noted China is the first country to make sizable reductions of its desert territory. There is a serious problem on the horizon for China. Officials offer subsidies: Mr. Guo gets $600 per year for “grassland ecological protection.”, But farming is also becoming more difficult. The New York Times.-deserts.html The Tengger Desert lies on the southern edge of the massive Gobi Desert, not far from major cities like Beijing. Sign up to receive our in-depth journalism about climate change around the world. Sandstorm data from the Data Sharing Network of Earth Systems Science via the Center for Geographic Analysis, Harvard University. “We must fight it. Precipitation data from Climate Hazards Group, University of California, Santa Barbara, via the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia University. However, while the intentions were good, the bottom-line result has been devastating. Ms. Du said the water level had been declining. Notes and sources: Arid regions saw less than 250 millimeters of average annual precipitation from 1981 to 2013. Desertification is the gradual transformation of arable and habitable land into desert, usually caused by climate change and/or the improper use of land. One recent estimate said China had 54,400km2 more desert than what existed in 1975 — about the size of Croatia. Please upgrade your browser. They roam by his old family home, near the shores of a lake that dried up years ago. In 1994, China’s forestry administration started monitoring the status of desertification nationally. For years, China’s deserts spread at an annual rate of more than 1,300 square miles. The expanding desert is taking over farmlan... Report on the Chinese Gobi Desert which is increasing in size as more parts of China's land are turned to desert. It is also the world's second-largest shifting sand desert. China's expanding deserts on a collision course with its cities By Josh Haner , Edward Wong , Derek Watkins and Jeremy White Updated October 24, 2016 — 3.56pm first published at 2.19pm China now has the second largest desert in the world – the Taklimakan desert. The water table in the soil dropped nearly 10 fold and most of the trees died. But gradually, everyone left. Many villages have been lost. Ms. Huang planted more than 200 trees on her own last spring, in the hope that they would help block sandstorms and hold back the sand. The Tengger is growing. The grasslands of China’s Dzorge County were turning into desert at an annual rate of an 8 percent. We’ll see what she wants to do when she finishes school.”. “We use more fertilizer now.”, Ms. Huang and her husband have sent their 14-year-old daughter to a boarding school in a nearby city. They will need new technology to grow food as we pointed out. Many of the oases in the Tengger are drying up. Local governments in desert regions began relocating people away from the encroaching sands decades ago. Nearly 27% of China’s land area is comprised of deserts. Living in China’s Expanding Deserts Josh Haner, Edward Wong, Derek Watkins, and Jeremy White. « Germany on the Threshold of an Unprecedented Radicalization, Lagarde – Wants to Raise Retirement Age & Taxes ». Mengkebuyin uses a motorcycle and a desert buggy to drive the sheep to graze. He would like to move to better pasture, but the government will not allow it. China’s forests were cut down and used for fuel, lumber, and paper production for the billions of little red books that became rather notorious. But the oasis, which is the main attraction, is shrinking. Josh Haner and Edward Wong reported from the Tengger Desert, and Derek Watkins and Jeremy White from New York. A Remote Pacific Nation, Threatened by Rising Seas, Climate Change Claims a Lake, and an Identity. Mengkebuyin uses a motorcycle and a desert buggy to drive the sheep to graze. One recent estimate said China had 21,000 square miles more desert than what existed in 1975 — about the size of Croatia. That is a huge topic no doubt, but i feel as if the media has neglected many other occurrences of … Their attempt to reverse the trend had the exact opposite impact. China says government efforts to relocate residents, plant trees and limit herding have slowed or reversed desert growth in some areas. The expanding desert has threatened agricultural development and the environment of local people. To get them to move and sell off their herd of more than 70 sheep, 30 cows and eight camels, the officials have offered an annual subsidy equivalent to $1,500 for each of her parents and $1,200 for a grandmother who lives with them. An afforestation project to prevent the desert from expanding and to reduce the impacts of sand and dust storms on nearby residents was launched in Kekeya in 1986 and completed in 2015. Officials say that along with climate change, overgrazing is contributing to the desert’s growth. But some experiments suggest moderate grazing may actually mitigate the effects of climate change on grasslands, and China’s herder relocation policies could be undermining that. There are now dunes forming just 44 miles from Beijing, and some estimates put the Gobi’s crawl south toward the capital at a … But the usefulness of those policies is debated by scientists, and deserts are expanding in critical regions. Many of the oases in the Tengger are drying up. “The sand and wind make life tough here.”, “We’ll see what she wants to do when she finishes school.”. Taklimakan Desert covers 337,000 square kilometers, slightly smaller than the size of Germany. Desertification is a type of land degradation in drylands in which biological productivity is lost due to natural processes or induced by human activities whereby fertile areas become increasingly arid. “The soil is not as soft or good as it was before,” she said. Edited by Hannah Fairfield and Jodi Rudoren. In the Tengger Desert, China — This desert, called the Tengger, lies on the southern edge of the massive Gobi Desert, not far from major cities like Beijing. “The desert is a spreading cancer,” Abdoulaye Wade, Senegal's president and the wall's standard bearer, said. The first of these is a visual narrative about people living on the eastern edge of the expanding Tengger Desert. Storms of wind-driven sand have become increasingly frequent and intense, reaching Beijing and other large cities. As China's military capabilities continue to rapidly expand and mature, so do the bases that support and test them. It is designed to halt the expansion of the Gobi Desert. Only about 15% of the trees planted since 1949 have survived. Last year, the company that operates the park paid students to build seven giant sand sculptures as its centerpiece. But the oasis, which is the main attraction, is shrinking. By JOSH HANER, EDWARD WONG, DEREK WATKINS and JEREMY WHITE. Instead of creating a forest, it expanded the desert. This became known as the “Green Wall of China,” which was to be completed by 2050. The sheep graze in the desert, where grass is growing scarce. They actually planted 66 billion trees. People on the edges of the country’s vast seas of sand are being displaced by climate change. Climate change and human activities have accelerated desertification. Ms. Huang and her husband have sent their 14-year-old daughter to a boarding school in a nearby city. Their attempt to reverse the trend had the exact opposite impact. Expanding deserts are a global problem. Josh Haner and Edward Wong reported from the Tengger Desert, and Derek Watkins and Jeremy White from New York. That is an area about seven times the size of Germany. It is estimated that one-third of the earth is exposed to desertification, affecting millions of people worldwide. Around 200 lakes dried up in about 20 years.Then in 2010, the staff of the Tibetan Sustainable Environmental Resources for Increased Economic Growth (TSERING) program taught villagers how … Along with local governments, they plant trees in an effort to block the wind and stabilize the soil. They have moved to a village five miles away. Each year, desertification and drought account for US$42 billion loss in food productivity worldwide. Mengkebuyin and his wife maintain the old home but do not stay for long periods. Jiali’s mother, Du Jinping, 45, said the family would live in the new village in the winter, but return to Swan Lake in the summer. Four generations of Mengkebuyin’s family lived by the lake in a thriving community. Instead of creating a forest, it expanded the desert. The government introduced fast-growing pine and poplar trees that were not native to the region. “The sand and wind make life tough here. China has spent decades curbing desertification through greening. At the end of the 20th Century, China's deserts were expanding at a pace - 10,000-sq./km. “The wind is fierce. Satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe via Google. Following the creation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the Communist State attempted to alter nature. Dust storms have increased in frequency in the past 20 years, causing further damage to China's agriculture economy. Many villages have been lost. Nearly 20 percent of China is desert, and drought across the northern region is getting worse. Jiali lives in an area called Alxa League, where the government has relocated about 30,000 people, who are called “ecological migrants,” because of desertification. Nearly 20 percent of China is desert, and drought across northern China is getting worse. By planting certain pine trees and covering areas with a single species of tree, the government allowed China’s peripheral deserts to expand. annually. Visitors also rent camels and dune buggies. Ms. Huang, 38, grows corn and tomatoes, some in greenhouse structures. About 17 percent of the population in Alxa League are ethnic Mongolians, whose lives and livelihoods have long been tied to the herding the government is trying to halt. This led to a sharp rise in the rate of desertification. Sandstorm severity calculated as winter storm hours over frequency. Kiki Zhao and Sarah Li contributed research. Thanks to a combination of exploitive agricultural practices, political mishaps, and changing patterns of migration, these deserts are expanding by nearly 10,000 km 2 a year. Across northern China, generations of families have made a living herding animals on the edge of the desert. He has his corn and wheat fields, plus income from running the tourist park. As the Tengger expands, it is merging with two other deserts to form a vast sea of sand that could become uninhabitable. Guo Kaiming, 40, a farmer who also manages a tourist park at the edge of the Tengger Desert, planted rows of trees by a new cross-desert highway in June. per year, but in recent years, deserts are shrinking about 2,400-sq./km. With the advancing Gobi now within 150 miles of Beijing, China's leaders are beginning to … Mengkebuyin, 42, and his wife, Mandula, 41, grow corn and sunflowers, but their 200 sheep provide most of their income: They sell the meat to a hotel restaurant in a nearby city. The family charges each tourist $4.50 to visit Swan Lake. It is the spread of arid areas caused by a variety of factors, such as climate change (particularly the current global warming) and overexploitation of soil as a result of human activity. “I don’t want my girl to return,” she said. Mr. Guo took saplings that the government had left behind after it completed a tree planting operation. Additional video editing by Taige Jensen. This presents a political risk for the future as China is squeezed by the expanding desert. NYTimes.com no longer supports Internet Explorer 9 or earlier. One recent estimate said China had 21,000 square miles … Young trees planted to hinder sandstorms and reverse desertification in the Xihu preservation area of the Gobi Desert, near Dunhuang, China. Like Jiali’s family, many people herd animals and run small tourist parks on the edge of the Tengger Desert. In the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur … He would like to move to better pasture, but the government will not allow it. Increasing desertification has threatened nearly 400 million Chinese citizens living on the nation’s agricultural periphery. The Gobi Desert is expanding at an alarming rate through desertification, most rapidly on the southern edge into China, which is seeing 3,600 km 2 (1,390 sq mi) of grassland overtaken every year. “I don’t want my girl to return,” she said. Climate change and human activities have accelerated desertification. This presents a political risk for the future as China is squeezed by the expanding desert. Realizing its mistake, the government saw the desert areas expanding and embarked on an effort to reverse the damage by trying to the create a reforestation effort in 1978. Their research shows that deserts expanded in China from 1994 to 1999… “They are all a mess now,” Mr. Guo said. As the Tengger expands, it is merging with two other deserts to form a vast sea of sand that could become uninhabitable. Beijing Shanghai Gobi Desert China Map Dalian Chengdu Ancient China Interesting History We The People China says government efforts to relocate residents, plant trees and limit herding have slowed or reversed desert growth in some areas.
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