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      A Remote Pacific Nation, Threatened by Rising Seas, Climate Change Claims a Lake, and an Identity. The Tengger is growing. “I don’t want my girl to return,” she said. In the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur … Storms of wind-driven sand have become increasingly frequent and intense, reaching Beijing and other large cities. “The sand and wind make life tough here. The expanding desert has threatened agricultural development and the environment of local people. One of the most common issues of climate change in the media is that the polar ice caps are melting. Many villages have been lost. Like Jiali’s family, many people herd animals and run small tourist parks on the edge of the Tengger Desert. China has spent decades curbing desertification through greening. 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. Semi-arid land in China has expanded in recent decades and will probably continue to expand, with implications for food and water security. 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.”. Sandstorm data from the Data Sharing Network of Earth Systems Science via the Center for Geographic Analysis, Harvard University. Many of the oases in the Tengger are drying up. Sign up to receive our in-depth journalism about climate change around the world. “We must fight it. As China's military capabilities continue to rapidly expand and mature, so do the bases that support and test them. “The wind is fierce. Ms. Du said the water level had been declining. Ma noted China is the first country to make sizable reductions of its desert territory. The water table in the soil dropped nearly 10 fold and most of the trees died. By JOSH HANER, EDWARD WONG, DEREK WATKINS and JEREMY WHITE. The sheep graze in the desert, where grass is growing scarce. That is a huge topic no doubt, but i feel as if the media has neglected many other occurrences of … Kiki Zhao and Sarah Li contributed research. 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 forests were cut down and used for fuel, lumber, and paper production for the billions of little red books that became rather notorious. Oct. 24, 2016. Each year, desertification and drought account for US$42 billion loss in food productivity worldwide. Young trees planted to hinder sandstorms and reverse desertification in the Xihu preservation area of the Gobi Desert, near Dunhuang, China. By planting certain pine trees and covering areas with a single species of tree, the government allowed China’s peripheral deserts to expand. Desertification is the gradual transformation of arable and habitable land into desert, usually caused by climate change and/or the improper use of land. “The soil is not as soft or good as it was before,” she said. 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 Local governments in desert regions began relocating people away from the encroaching sands decades ago. 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 first of these is a visual narrative about people living on the eastern edge of the expanding Tengger Desert. 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. Visitors also rent camels and dune buggies. 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. Expanding deserts are a global problem. But the usefulness of those policies is debated by scientists, and deserts are expanding in critical regions. This became known as the “Green Wall of China,” which was to be completed by 2050. “I don’t want my girl to return,” she said. Please upgrade your browser. Population data from WorldPop. 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. However, while the intentions were good, the bottom-line result has been devastating. He would like to move to better pasture, but the government will not allow it. This presents a political risk for the future as China is squeezed by the expanding desert. Only about 15% of the trees planted since 1949 have survived. Notes and sources: Arid regions saw less than 250 millimeters of average annual precipitation from 1981 to 2013. annually. Only about 15% of the trees planted since 1949 have survived. The family charges each tourist $4.50 to visit Swan Lake. “We dread the sandstorms,” Ms. Du said. Increasing desertification has threatened nearly 400 million Chinese citizens living on the nation’s agricultural periphery. With the advancing Gobi now within 150 miles of Beijing, China's leaders are beginning to … But the oasis, which is the main attraction, is shrinking. China now has the second largest desert in the world – the Taklimakan desert. Dust storms have increased in frequency in the past 20 years, causing further damage to China's agriculture economy. Josh Haner and Edward Wong reported from the Tengger Desert, and Derek Watkins and Jeremy White from New York. 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 has messed up everything.”. Mengkebuyin and his wife maintain the old home but do not stay for long periods. Approximately 2.6 million square meters of land in China consist of only sand or rock desert. Nearly 20 percent of China is desert, and drought across the northern region is getting worse. This presents a political risk for the future as China is squeezed by the expanding desert. He would like to move to better pasture, but the government will not allow it. Last year, the company that operates the park paid students to build seven giant sand sculptures as its centerpiece. China now has the second largest desert in the world – the Taklimakan desert. Photographs and drone videos by Josh Haner. China says government efforts to relocate residents, plant trees and limit herding have slowed or reversed desert growth in some areas. Beijing Shanghai Gobi Desert China Map Dalian Chengdu Ancient China Interesting History We The People He herds the sheep toward the old family home, where he can give the animals water. Instead of creating a forest, it expanded the desert. Josh Haner and Edward Wong reported from the Tengger Desert, and Derek Watkins and Jeremy White from New York. The Tengger is growing. The government introduced fast-growing pine and poplar trees that were not native to the region. As the Tengger expands, it is merging with two other deserts to form a vast sea of sand that could become uninhabitable. 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. « Germany on the Threshold of an Unprecedented Radicalization, Lagarde – Wants to Raise Retirement Age & Taxes ». Satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe via Google. He herds the sheep toward the old family home, where he can give the animals water. Taklimakan Desert covers 337,000 square kilometers, slightly smaller than the size of Germany. 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 … But the oasis, which is the main attraction, is shrinking. 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. It is designed to halt the expansion of the Gobi Desert. “The sand and wind make life tough here.”, “We’ll see what she wants to do when she finishes school.”. The second is on the world’s … China says government efforts to relocate residents, plant trees and limit herding have slowed or reversed desert growth in some areas. Four generations of Mengkebuyin’s family lived by the lake in a thriving community. He has his corn and wheat fields, plus income from running the tourist park. 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) — … It is estimated that one-third of the earth is exposed to desertification, affecting millions of people worldwide. For years, China’s deserts spread at an annual rate of more than 1,300 square miles. The desert areas are scattered among 12 provincial-level regions in north China. Kiki Zhao and Sarah Li contributed research. At the end of the 20th Century, China's deserts were expanding at a pace - 10,000-sq./km. Visitors also rent camels and dune buggies, and can pay to eat in the round Mongolian tents, called gers. “The wind is fierce.”, The government encourages farmers like Mr. Guo because it says agriculture can help reclaim land from the desert. In the five years to 2010, the authors estimated the area of desert had shrunk by an annual average of 1,717 square kilometres. People on the edges of the country’s vast seas of sand are being displaced by climate change. As the Tengger expands, it is merging with two other deserts to form a vast sea of sand that could become uninhabitable. “They are all a mess now,” Mr. Guo said. It’s not only a … NYTimes.com no longer supports Internet Explorer 9 or earlier. Last year, the company that operates the park paid students to build seven giant sand sculptures as its centerpiece. They will need new technology to grow food as we pointed out. Officials offer subsidies: Mr. Guo gets $600 per year for “grassland ecological protection.”, But farming is also becoming more difficult. Their attempt to reverse the trend had the exact opposite impact. Their research shows that deserts expanded in China from 1994 to 1999… Climate change and human activities have accelerated desertification. 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. It is also the world's second-largest shifting sand desert. In 1994, China’s forestry administration started monitoring the status of desertification nationally. They roam by his old family home, near the shores of a lake that dried up years ago. Their attempt to reverse the trend had the exact opposite impact. Following the creation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the Communist State attempted to alter nature. Additional video editing by Taige Jensen. Authorities worry that expanding deserts could put crops and water supplies in the world's second largest economy at risk. But China’s densely populated areas are pushing toward the deserts, as the deserts grow toward the cities. Many of the oases in the Tengger are drying up. These trees needed more water and sucked the region dry. Mr. Guo took saplings that the government had left behind after it completed a tree planting operation. Photo editing by Meaghan Looram. 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. Precipitation data from Climate Hazards Group, University of California, Santa Barbara, via the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia University. 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. This led to a sharp rise in the rate of desertification. But strong desert winds steadily eroded them. Of a Lake that dried up years ago miles more desert than what existed in 1975 — about the of. White from New York and reverse desertification in the round Mongolian tents, called.... 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