Parts of this article (those related to new phases) need to be updated.(January 2021)
The Great Green Wall, officially known as the Three-North Shelter Forest Program (simplified Chinese :三北防护林; traditional Chinese :三北防護林; pinyin :Sānběi Fánghùlín), also known as the Three-North Shelterbelt Program, is a series of human-planted windbreaking forest strips (shelterbelts) in China, designed to hold back the expansion of the Gobi Desert, and provide timber to the local population. The program started in 1978, and is planned to be completed around 2050, at which point it will be 4,500 kilometres (2,800 mi) long.
The project's name indicates that it is to be carried out in all three of the northern regions: the North, the Northeast and the Northwest.This project has historical precedences dating back to before the Common Era. However, in premodern periods, government sponsored afforestation projects along the historical frontier regions were mostly for military fortification.
China has seen 3,600 km2 (1,400 sq mi) of grassland overtaken every year by the Gobi Desert. Each year, dust storms blow off as much as 2,000 km2 (800 sq mi) of topsoil, and the storms are increasing in severity each year. These storms also have serious agricultural effects for other nearby countries, such as Japan, North Korea, and South Korea. The Green Wall project was begun in 1978, with the proposed end result of raising northern China's forest cover from 5 to 15 percent, thereby reducing desertification.
The fourth phase of the project, started in 2003, has two parts: the use of aerial seeding to cover wide swathes of land where the soil is less arid, and the offering of cash incentives to farmers to plant trees and shrubs in areas that are more arid.A $1.2 billion oversight system (including mapping and surveillance databases) is also to be implemented. The "wall" will have a belt with sand-tolerant vegetation arranged in checkerboard patterns to stabilize the sand dunes. A gravel platform will be next to the vegetation to hold down sand and encourage a soil crust to form. The trees should also serve as a windbreak from dust storms.
As the Chinese State has made efforts to fight the dust storms that have taken over parts of the Grasslands with the rapid use of afforestation. There are various examples of individuals taking it upon themselves to combat the harsh unforgiving environment that the sand brings. Yin Yuzhen and Li Yungsheng are both predominant figures who have combated the environments that they resided in. Their efforts have taken decades to achieve and have transformed ecosystems into vibrant and lush oases in what otherwise would be a barren wasteland.
Yin Yuzhen took it herself to singlehandedly plant trees rehabilitation the desolate environment in the Uxin Banner of China’s Semi-Arid Western landscape. Yin’s afforestation efforts have been recognized by individuals such as Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping, who, during the 2020 National People's Congress, described the actions of those such as Yin as a remarkable achievement and an overall improvement of the ecology in China.
As of 2009, China's planted forest covered more than 500,000 square kilometers (increasing tree cover from 12% to 18%) – the largest artificial forest in the world.In 2008, winter storms destroyed 10% of the new forest stock, causing the World Bank to advise China to focus more on quality rather than quantity in its stock species.
If the trees succeed in taking root, they could soak up large amounts of groundwater, which would be extremely problematic for arid regions like northern China.Research of reforested areas of the loess plateau has found that the planted vegetation used decreased the moisture from deeper soil levels to some degree compared to farmland.
Land erosion and overfarming have halted planting in many areas of the project. China's increasing levels of pollution have also weakened the soil, causing it to be unusable in many areas.
Furthermore, planting blocks of fast-growing trees reduces the biodiversity of forested areas, creating areas that are not suitable to plants and animals normally found in forests. "China plants more trees than the rest of the world combined", says John McKinnon, the head of the EU-China Biodiversity Programme. "But the trouble is they tend to be monoculture plantations. They are not places where birds want to live." The lack of diversity also makes the trees more susceptible to disease, as in 2000, when one billion poplar trees in Ningxia were lost to a single disease, setting back 20 years of planting efforts.
Liu Tuo, head of the desertification control office in the state forestry administration, is of the opinion that there are huge gaps in the country's efforts to reclaim the land that has become desert. km2 was treatable. But at the present rate of treating 1,717 km2 per year, it would take 300 years to reclaim the land that has become desert.In 2011, there was around 1.73 million km2 of land that had become desert in China, of which 530,000
The worry is that the fragile land cannot support such massive, forced growth.
China's forest scientists argued that monoculture tree plantations are more effective at absorbing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide than slow-growth forests,so while diversity may be lower, the trees purportedly help to offset China's carbon emissions.
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. It is the spread of arid areas caused by a variety of factors, such as climate change and overexploitation of soil as a result of human activity.
Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forests and woodlands (forestation) that have been depleted, usually through deforestation, but also after clearcutting.
Tree-planting is the process of transplanting tree seedlings, generally for forestry, land reclamation, or landscaping purpose. It differs from the transplantation of larger trees in arboriculture, and from the lower cost but slower and less reliable distribution of tree seeds. Trees contribute to their environment over long periods of time by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife. During the process of photosynthesis, trees take in carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we breathe.
The Ordos Desert is a desert/steppe region in Northwest China, administrated under the prefecture of Ordos City in the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region. It extends over an area of approximately 90,650 km2 (35,000 sq mi), and comprises two sub-deserts: China's 7th-largest desert, the Kubuqi Desert, in the north; and China's 8th-largest desert, the Mu Us Desert, in the south. Wedged between the arable Hetao region to the north and the Loess Plateau to the south, the soil of the Ordos Desert is mostly a mixture of dry clay and sand, and as a result is poorly suited for agriculture.
A windbreak (shelterbelt) is a planting usually made up of one or more rows of trees or shrubs planted in such a manner as to provide shelter from the wind and to protect soil from erosion. They are commonly planted in hedgerows around the edges of fields on farms. If designed properly, windbreaks around a home can reduce the cost of heating and cooling and save energy. Windbreaks are also planted to help keep snow from drifting onto roadways or yards. Farmers sometimes use windbreaks to keep snow drifts on farm land that will provide water when the snow melts in the spring. Other benefits include contributing to a microclimate around crops, providing habitat for wildlife, and, in some regions, providing wood if the trees are harvested.
Land development is the alteration of landscape in any number of ways such as:
Afforestation is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees (forestation) in an area where there was no previous tree cover. Many government and non-governmental organizations directly engage in afforestation programs to create forests and increase carbon capture. Afforestation is an increasingly sought-after method to fight climate concerns, as it is known to increase the soil quality and organic carbon levels into the soil, avoiding desertification.
The Tengger Desert or Tengri Desert is an arid natural region that covers about 36,700 km2 and is mostly in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in China.
The Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) is one of the biggest research institutes of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), an autonomous organization working under the aegis of the Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of Government of India. CAZRI has the distinction of being one of the first institutes in the world exclusively devoted to arid zone research and development. The institute made a humble beginning in 1952 when Government of India initiated Desert Afforestation Research Station at Jodhpur to carry out research on sand dune stabilization and for establishment of shelter belt plantations to arrest wind erosion. It was reorganized as Desert Afforestation and Soil Conservation Station in 1957 and finally in its present form Central Arid Zone Research Institute in 1959 on recommendation of the UNESCO expert, Prof. C.S. Christian of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia. In 1966, the institute was brought under the administrative control of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi.
Yosef Weitz was the director of the Land and Afforestation Department of the Jewish National Fund (JNF). From the 1930s, Weitz played a major role in acquiring land for the Yishuv, the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine.
Social forestry is the management and protection of forests and afforestation of barren and deforested lands with the purpose of helping environmental, social and rural development. The term social forestry was first used in 1976 by The National Commission on Agriculture, when the government of India aimed to reduce pressure on forests by planting trees on all unused and fallow lands. It was intended as a democratic approach to forest conservation and usage, maximizing land utilization for multiple purposes.
A desert is a barren area of landscape where little precipitation occurs and, consequently, living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. The lack of vegetation exposes the unprotected surface of the ground to denudation. About one-third of the land surface of the Earth is arid or semi-arid. This includes much of the polar regions, where little precipitation occurs, and which are sometimes called polar deserts or "cold deserts". Deserts can be classified by the amount of precipitation that falls, by the temperature that prevails, by the causes of desertification or by their geographical location.
The Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature, also known as Stalin's plan for the transformation of nature, was proposed by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union in the second half of the 1940s, for land development, agricultural practices and water projects to improve agriculture in the nation. Its propaganda motto and catchphrase was "the great transformation of nature".
The Great Plains Shelterbelt was a project to create windbreaks in the Great Plains states of the United States, that began in 1934. President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated the project in response to the severe dust storms of the Dust Bowl, which resulted in significant soil erosion and drought. The United States Forest Service believed that planting trees on the perimeters of farms would reduce wind velocity and lessen evaporation of moisture from the soil. By 1942, 220 million trees had been planted, covering 18,600 square miles (48,000 km2) in a 100-mile-wide zone from Canada to the Brazos River. Even as of 2007, "the federal response to the Dust Bowl, including the Prairie States Forestry Project which planted the Great Plains Shelterbelt and creation of the Soil Erosion Service, represents the largest and most-focused effort of the [U.S.] government to address an environmental problem".
Desert greening is the process of man-made reclamation of deserts for ecological reasons (biodiversity), farming and forestry, but also for reclamation of natural water systems and other ecological systems that support life. The term "desert greening" is intended to apply to both cold and hot arid and semi-arid deserts. It does not apply to ice capped or permafrost regions. Desert greening has the potential to help solve global water, energy, and food crises. It pertains to roughly 32 million square kilometres of land.
The Mu Us Desert is a desert in northern China. Its south-eastern end is crossed by the Great Wall of China. The Mu Us forms the southern portion of the Ordos Desert and part of the Ordos Loop. The Wuding River drains the area, and then flows into the Yellow River.
Arid Forest Research Institute (AFRI) is a research institute situated in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. The institute conducts scientific research in forestry in order to provide technologies to increase the vegetative cover and to conserve biodiversity in the hot arid and semi-arid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat. It operates under the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.
Compensatory Afforestation (CA) is defined as the process of afforestation, and associated regeneration activities are done to compensate for destroyed forest land that has been diverted to non-forest activities. In this context, non-forest activities mean the clearing of a forest or just a small part for the following purposes: Coffee cultivation, rubber, tea, plants with oil, medicinal plants or gardening crops. This may be for the purpose of personal use or for business use—or any other purpose other than the reforestation of the forest.
Yin Yuzhen is a Chinese woman known for her personal efforts to combat desertification over the course of 30 years.
Shyam Sunder Jyani is an Indian environmentalist and academic, best known for afforestation efforts in the Indian state of Rajasthan. He is presently an associate professor of sociology at Dungar College, Bikaner.