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In the 21st century, the share of China's grasslands subject to severe and moderate desertification fell from 52 percent to 37 percent. Photo: neverdance CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unportedneverdance CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

A new index details the decline of desertification in China

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In the 21st century, the share of China's grasslands experiencing severe and moderate desertification has dropped from 52 percent to 37 percent. This is revealed in a new survey by the Beijing Academy of Sciences
The Tibetan Plateau regulates summer rainfall in southern China in part because of soil moisture. Photo: Tenace10 CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 InternationalTenace10 CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Here’s how Tibetan Plateau influences summer rainfall in northeast China

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Tibetan Plateau heat source strengthens water vapor transport leading to excessive rainfall in northeastern China
Biocrusts widely found on the Great Wall of China can slow the erosion process, thus contributing to the preservation of the structure. Photo: Peter Dowley CC BY 2.0 DEED Attribution 2.0 GenericPeter Dowley CC BY 2.0 DEED Attribution 2.0 Generic

Biocrusts protect The Great Wall of China from erosion

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Typical of arid or semi-arid expanses, soil bio-crusts are an important and undervalued natural resource. An international study has highlighted their ability to counter erosion
Due to their high carbon sequestration capacity, mangroves are estimated to be able to prevent total emissions of more than 21 billion tons of CO2 worldwide. Photo: Sigit Deni Sasmito/CIFOR Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)Sigit Deni Sasmito/CIFOR Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Saudi Arabia also bets on mangroves

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The Kingdom plans to plant 50 to 100 million mangrove trees "in the coming years." An initiative to protect biodiversity that once again highlights the key role of this plant species in mitigating climate and contributing to soil protection
The Tibetan Plateau represents the largest area of Alpine permafrost and a large store of organic carbon. Photo: Rita Willaert Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)Rita Willaert Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In Tibetan permafrost 54% of the carbon comes from microbes

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A Chinese study quantifies for the first time the weight of major soil organic carbon components released due to rising temperatures
By 2022, forest destruction in Ghana increased by 71%, the highest figure on the planet. Photo: Maite Knorr-Evans, World Resources Institute Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)Maite Knorr-Evans, World Resources Institute Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Destruction of tropical forests increased by 10% in 2022

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Despite formal commitments made in Glasgow in 2021, the loss of primary rainforests in the tropics is increasing, says Global Forest Watch. Brazil tops the list. The cases of Congo R.D., Ghana and Bolivia are also worrying
Extreme heatwaves in India put soil productivity at risk. Photo: mckaysavage Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)mckaysavage Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Climate change threatens India’s agriculture and development

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Extreme heat waves, made more and more frequent by climate change, continue in India. Soil productivity is at risk, as is the achievement of growth targets
India is the world's sixth largest producer of bauxite. Photo: Yercaud-elango Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)Yercaud-elango Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

From India to Australia: the bauxite paradox

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In India, the mining of bauxite, a rock needed for aluminum production, takes land away from agriculture, producing permanent soil damage. But this same resource, paradoxically, may carry with it a solution
Biochar is especially useful in limiting the effects of soil salinization. A phenomenon which is prevalent in Bangladesh where about one-third of agricultural land is in coastal areas. Photo: CBFM-Fem Com Bangladesh Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)Photo: CBFM-Fem Com Bangladesh Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Biochar provides relief for saline soils in Bangladesh

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Biochar promotes tomato crop yields in salt-affected soils, a research conducted in Bangladesh has found. Effects on carbon sequestration are also positive
The Gansu Province. Stretching from Central Asia to the northeast of the country, the desertification-prone region in China covers an area of more than 1.2 million km2. Photo: Robert Thomson Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)Robert Thomson Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

“China must change direction in its anti-desertification strategy”

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The actions promoted in China in the 21st century have reportedly produced limited benefits, a recent study finds. Among other things, Beijing's "Grain for Green" plan has decreased the incomes of farmers and herders. Other natural factors have mainly weighed on land regeneration