Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The great replanting

Discovery reports that China is now the only region on Earth that has more forest in 2010 than 2000. Everywhere else, more forest is being cleared than planted.
Why? For one, it's a restoration of the ancient condition. The area from inner Mongolia to about Chongching was once an immense forest that got cleared over the years to make way for farms and towns and cities and so on over the course of Chinese civilization. The more it got cleared away, the more Asia suffered from dust storms and the region suffered from drought and erosion as the soil literally blows off to the east.
For two, China is an industrializing country, and kind of ashamed at the way that it's the biggest producer of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Wanting a green record, they have commanded every citizen in China to plant 3 trees per year, which I imagine is somewhat tricky for the urban dwellers, who'd have to take time off work and go far far away to even have the room to do it. Still, success. The central forests are back in a way that they haven't for some 2000 years now.
In any case, the Chinese government believes that this will improve the environment in central China, not just for wildlife, but for people and cities, as water supplies become protected and dust is held firmly in the earth by root networks. And it would look better aesthetically too.
I feel so out-engineered.

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