Deserts, drought, deforestation, and greenhouse gas emissions have been a concern for a long period of time, and for a variety of reasons. Most people will point their finger at human activities when looking to place the blame on the negative environmental changes the Earth has experienced lately. But projects such as “The Great Green Wall” in China may just make up for it.
When most people hear the word “desert” they usually associate it with extremely hot weather and dry lands stretched out for many miles. The Gobi Desert, while it is very dry, is a mostly waterless and dry desert that can reach not only hot temperatures, but cold temperatures also.This desert usually gets about 7 inches of rain annually due to the Himalayan mountain range blocking much of the potential for precipitation. It is made mainly of solid rock instead of the typical sand that most deserts have. It is the fifth largest desert in the world, covering approximately 500,000 square miles of land where China and Mongolia meet.
To avoid any further spread of the infiltrating Gobi Desert, called desertification, and to avoid mass deforestation, China decided to grow and maintain “The Great Green Wall,” along the walls of the dry desert land. Their efforts have decreased the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere, and has increased the amount of carbon dioxide stored in the Earth’s biomass by about a few billions of tons since 2003.It has been said by many scientists that China is one of the biggest greenhouse gas emitting country in the world. These efforts in stopping greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, helps control climate change because they are decreasing the carbon dioxide count and increasing oxygen.The project is said to take an estimated 50 years to complete, and will cover 32 million acres. Many challenges will be faced while maintaining the the wall of trees because they require a substantial amount of water in order to thrive.
Many scientists doubt the belt of trees will be helpful to the environment, and if the project does not succeed then groundwater will be wasted. Another worry that scientists have is that the amount of groundwater the trees will soak up will affect other vegetation in negative ways, especially grass and shrubs which are important because they are less resistant to drought than trees.
Chinese government officials say that 2,236.94 square miles of farms and grassland have been encroached by the spread of multiple deserts, including the Gobi desert. Millions of residents of the towns and cities that were taken over by desert lands seek refuge, and have lost their land and homes. The economic loss due to these situations is an estimated 50 million dollars per year. Many people are hoping that “The Great Green Wall” project will help stop the desert from expanding further, and protect the cities and towns nearby.