December 5 is World Soil Day. It’s time to say goodbye to water and soil loss in the 40,000 mu barren mountain in Horinger County in Inner Mongolia, the most severe representative area of desertification in recent 50 years in China.
Horinger County of Hohhot City is located in the middle of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. There are various topographies and landforms, including mountains, hills and rivers. It is the zone of transition from Inner Mongolian Plateau to the Loess Plateau. The climate here belongs to arid and semi-arid continental monsoon climatic region and the average precipitation over the years is 392.8mm. This region happens to locate in the transition zone between cropping area and nomadic area and such area in northern China is exactly the area with most severe desertification process in China in recent 50 years. Horinger County is in the key soil and water loss region in the midstream of the Yellow River with severe water and soil loss and land desertification.
Gully before treatment
Barren Mountain before restoration
For this purpose, our Foundation cooperated with the Nature Conservancy, Department of Forestry of Inner Mongolia and China Green Carbon Foundation and jointly launched “Inner Mongolia Shengle International Eco Zone Project” in 2010, which is dedicated to restoring and protecting the degenerated ecosystem in the arid and semi-arid area in Inner Mongolia. Through community development and maintaining the results of restoration, the project helps in poverty alleviation of communities and achieves the harmonious development between ecological protection and land utilization.
Gully after treatment
Barren Mountain after restoration
After 8 years’ time, the restoration has achieved impressive results and increasingly apparent ecological benefits. Through scientific investigation and survey and planning, we have restored nearly 40,000 mu barren mountains with the planting pattern that combines trees, brushes and grasses on the basis of the principle of combining “planting, cultivating and managing”. The 6-year scientific detection indicates that the survival rate of afforestation is maintained at above 90%, the undergrowth vegetation coverage is increased by over 80%, the grassland productivity per unit area is improved by 60%-94%, and the quantity of species of undergrowth vegetation is increased by 43% in 2017 compared to that in 2012. The condition of soil health in the restored area has been significantly improved and the contents of various nutrients in the soil have been improved by varying degrees; the soil water content has been improved by 3-5 times and the annual amount of water conserved reaches 5.31 Million tons; the annual absorption of carbon dioxide reaches 5463 tons, releasing 3987 tons of oxygen and holding 25000 tons of soils. Water and soil loss has been controlled.
According to the 4th A Bulletin of Status Quo of Desertification and Sandification in China, by the end of 2009, the total area of desertification land throughout the country has reached 2,623,700 square kilometers, accounting for 27.33% of the total territory of China. We call on more of you to work with us and control the “water and soil loss” in these areas as soon as possible. It's what we have been advocating: environment protection should not be confined to one moment or one place and our permanent pursuit lies in the harmonious coexistence between man and nature.