三北防护林 (Sānbeĭ Fánghù Lín), the “Three North Shelter Forest Program”, is China’s mega-scale project to hold back desertification in Northern China. It’s also known as The Green Wall of China.
China is vulnerable to desertification: Deserts make up 27% of its total land mass, and the Gobi Desert is increasing by an area the size of Jamaica every year. The resulting sandstorms and erosion threaten the livelihoods of locals.
Starting in 1979, the response to this has been to create the world’s largest tree-planting program ever, planting woodland around the edges of the advancing sands. The trees are intended to bind the loose soil and prevent further erosion. The project will increase the world’s total forest cover by one tenth.
The programme is a challenging engineering project which has to take into account ground water resources, biodiversity, as well as the interests of the locals.
Trees! Stand your ground! China.com.cn