'It will take 300yrs to reclaim land swallowed by deserts in China'

New Delhi, Jan 5 (ANI): A senior official has said that despite the Chinese government's efforts to prevent desertification, it will take close to 300 years to reclaim the land that has been taken over by deserts.

Liu Tuo, director of the national bureau to combat desertification under the State Forestry Administration, said that about 530,000 square kilometres of desert areas in the country could be returned to green land.

However, at the current rate, it will take no less than 300 years to achieve the goal, he added.

Zhu Lieke, deputy head of the administration, said that the desertification trend in China has not been completely reversed, although the desertified land area has decreased by 12,454 sq km in the past five years, reports English.news.cn.

"China is still a country with the largest area of desertified land in the world. As well, about 310,000 sq km are susceptible to desertification," said Zhu.

Zhu said overgrazing, excessive reclamation, inappropriate use of water resources coupled with scare rainfall have resulted in the expansion of desertified land in the northwest part of Sichuan province and areas in the lower reaches of the Tarim River.

Liu also pointed out that population, economic development and global climate change are other barriers to reversing desertification,

Thanks to comprehensive measures and consistent efforts, the ecological environment has greatly improved in some key eco-rehabilitation areas, including desertified land in Horqin Grassland and Mu Us Desert in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Zhu said.

President Hu Jintao revealed at a United Nations climate summit in September 2009 that China will seek to increase its forest coverage by 40 million hectares by 2020 and increase the amount of wood stock by 1.3 billion cubic meters from the level of 2005. (ANI)

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