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Environment Magazine September/October 2008


March-April 2018

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China's Successes at Combating Desertification Provide Roadmap for Other Nations

The world's area of desertified land totals about 36 billion square kilometers, which equals the total land area of Russia, Canada, China, and the United States, and 2.3 billion people live in this land.1 This area is growing by more than 50,000 square kilometers per year, affecting two-thirds of the world's states and 20% of its population.2 Desertification and poverty are linked and must be tackled together. In desertified regions, environmental degradation and poverty simultaneously affect the residents, who lack sufficient expertise and capital to initiate economic development. Due to a lack of alternatives, residents of these areas are often forced to engage in unsustainable activities such as deforestation, overgrazing, and cultivation of land that is unsuitable for agriculture, thereby causing environmental degradation.3


Shixiong Cao is a professor at Minzu University of China. His interests include ecological economics and policy (E-mail:

Yujie Liu is a graduate student at Beijing Forestry University. Her interests include ecological restoration and policy.

Zhongqi Yu is a student at Beijing Forestry University. His interests include ecological restoration and policy.

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