North China’s Green Screen

Out­look Weekly Novem­ber 12

Beijing Review - - THIS WEEK PEOPLE & POINTS -

In­ner Mon­go­lia Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion is an im­por­tant eco­log­i­cal screen for north China, and even the whole coun­try. Build­ing a green great wall to en­sure China’s eco­log­i­cal se­cu­rity is one of the pri­or­i­ties of the au­ton­o­mous re­gion.

The largest eco­log­i­cal func­tion zone in north China, In­ner Mon­go­lia has a va­ri­ety of land­scapes, in­clud­ing forests, grass­lands, wet­lands, rivers and lakes. In re­cent years, the re­gion’s en­vi­ron­ment has im­proved, with its for­est and grass­land area hav­ing in­creased and desert re­duced.

How­ever, it still faces a num­ber of chal­lenges in eco­log­i­cal preser­va­tion.

For in­stance, the re­gion faces se­vere wa­ter short­age with the num­ber of lakes with an area of more than 1 square km drop­ping from 427 in

1987 to 145 in 2010. In ad­di­tion to a lack of pre­cip­i­ta­tion, huge wa­ter con­sump­tion in agri­cul­tural and in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion has wors­ened the wa­ter short­age. Ex­ces­sive use of fer­til­iz­ers has dam­aged the soil and af­fected the growth of grass, ac­cel­er­at­ing de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion.

The lo­cal govern­ment en­cour­ages plant­ing trees on grass­land as they can get more sub­si­dies for trees than by grow­ing grass.

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