China is a country that turns impossible to possible. The great wall of China is the only man-made infrastructure that can be observed from the space which proves it.
Now there’s bigger proof that china is doing miracles. And that is non-other than the Green wall.
The green wall of china is not the kind of wall you think. It is a belt of man-made forests built all the way from the inner edge of Mongolia through the Gobi Desert in northern China. How can you turn a desert into a forest? Let’s find out.
Need for the miracle green wall of china
Being the world’s largest populated country, China faced a lot of problems including food crisis, deforestation, industrialization, air pollution, photochemical smog, desertification, and sand storms. Did you know that quarter of their landmass was desert? And recently the desert started expanding drastically due to a number of reasons.
This desertification affected China in many ways. The wind erosion destroyed a lot of their cultivations, water and soil erosion was a major issue in Loess plateau, water salinization was also happened simultaneously and also the rock desertification was observed in Karst region of southwestern china.
Probably they have struggled to uplift their economy amongst all these problems. But they didn’t fail to manage all of them within a few decades.
China made long-sighted strategies to overcome these problems. They created new policies for air protection, water pollution, soil pollution, and industrial waste management by establishing an administrative framework called the “state environmental protection administration”.
As china’s economy relies on the hands of industries they could not help, but run their industries as they are. But they decided to stop coal fire power plants which are reported as emitting the highest amount of carbon dioxide into the air.
The waste matter produced in the industries was especially monitored and directed to waste management. These steps have created a drastic drop in environmental pollution.
The food crisis was properly managed by establishing the national grain stockpiles in 1990. They have focused mainly on food preservation.
And also China expanded the cultivation fields into absolute deserts. They experimented with new cultivation methods starting with greenhouses and proceeded to grow plants in the deserts.
But the cultivations were quite disturbed by the frequent sand storms. And that is when China decided to reforest the desert.
Apparently, this seemed working and they decided to build an entire forest in the Gobi Desert making a versatile decision to solve all the problems. In addition to climatic changes and food suppliance, they solved the demand for timber of the population by this project.
What is the miracle green wall of china?
The concept of the green wall of China came on the stage in 1978. It was named as “three north shelterbelt program”. Their vision is to complete the project by 2050 where they have planned to expand the forest into 4500square kilometers along the northern region.
In the end of this project they have planned to grow the 5% of existing forests into 15% by keeping a full stop for desertification. 100 billion plants are planned to grow in these areas which makes it the largest environmental project done by human kind.
By 2021, an area of 3600 square kilometers is converted into grasslands in the Gobi Desert which is impressive. After 50 years of endless efforts, China could stop the expansion of the Gobi Desert.
And sehanba national forest park is the first and only man-made forest park in the world. China first started growing monoculture tree populations which showed good progress in sandy soil.
Problems faced during the plantation
But these plants were destructed easily by parasitic invasions and difficult environmental conditions making it harder for them. Turning a desert into the green wasn’t easy at all. It took a lot of effort.
Later Chinese scientists observed that the growth of monoculture plants was not as effective as growing plants with biodiversity. The monoculture plants seemed to absorb a lot of groundwater making the inner soil layers even drier in the already semi-arid zone.
And also monoculture plantations could be easily destroyed by just one plant disease.
But different plants had the ability to withstand different diseases with the help of their unique genetic properties. The growth of different plant species made the soil richer and absorbed more carbon dioxide instead. Therefore, they started growing plants with diversity.
Chinese local citizens were greatly involved in this event by holding hands with the government. Ultimately by 2021, China has planted more plants than the rest of the world combined. This is impressive.
Methods used to overcome the problems
China used several methods for this procedure. They planned the plantation step by step.
The first thing to do was finding out innovative methods to plant the trees. As the area was humongous they scattered seeds from airplanes. Several teams were hired to work on the fields. In addition, local villagers, and government officials involved in the noble exercise.
Chinese government encouraged all citizens over 11 years old, to grow at least 3 plants annually as a contribution. Authorized mobile applications were also built to collect donations for this program.
As the first line, they planted grass and some common plants that were adapted to sandy soil.
Draught-resistant shrubs were planted next. Trees such as poppler were grown mostly. Planting licorice trees were beneficial for soil fertility.
For the crop cultivation fields, they used some other technologies. Usage of polylactic acid sand barriers to stop desertification in kubuqi turned the desert into a fertile cultivation field. They built greenhouses and a proper water sprinkle system inside them to retain the moisture.
Some new technologies to turn desert sand into soil. They added cellulose to sand and mixed it with some water to make proper soil for cultivation. And also they added a layer of gravel underneath the soil to retain the water. These technologies visibly improved the plant growth.
With these innovative technologies, china could finally overcome its problems. This event is still in progress even though they are not sure if it’s the best decision. The department of forestry in China has mentioned that the plants only purify the air layers closer to the ground, but the project still has a lot of benefits than drawbacks.
In the recent years the climatic changes, and air pollution has dropped dramatically after this project. The signs give a positive hope that this project will solve their problems.
However, this strategy has inspired some other countries as well. The green wall of India built in new Delhi and the great green wall in Africa built in Sahara Desert are two of them.
The increase of air pollution, global warming, rise of sea levels, and greenhouse effect are not only the problems affecting a few countries. But also the whole world needs to face them together. Therefore, it’s the time to open our eyes and work together towards it with harmony.