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China to further protect desertified land

Updated: Jun 2,2015 5:05 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The State Forestry Administration of China rolled out guidelines on protecting the country’s desertified land on June 2.

The guideline advised more than 1.2 million square kilometers of desertified land in China be closed off as a protection zone so as to control drifting sand and improve the environment.

The guidelines, effective from July to the end of 2020, demand that activities including cutting down trees, cultivating land, animal grazing, resource exploration, mining, and misuse of water be prohibited in the protected zones. Construction of railways and highways are not allowed. No immigrants should be settled in the areas.

According to the guidelines, the protected areas should be important locations that have an impact on regional and national ecology and have suffered from frequent human activity.

Desertified land, which is land that has become barren due to constant water shortages and excessive exploitation, makes up more than half of the total desert area.

According to statistics from the State Forestry Administration, China had a desert area of around 2.62 million square kilometers, which accounts for 27 percent of its total land area.