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«Combating Desertification and Promotes sustainable development Assessing current Land Degradation status and trends in the Asia Region Hong Ma Hongbo ...»

Combating Desertification and Promotes sustainable development

Assessing current Land Degradation status and trends in the Asia Region

Hong Ma Hongbo Ju

Institute of Forest Resource Information Technique

Chinese Academy of Forestry

Dec. 11 2006. Arusha, Tanzania

Global Cover for the Year 2000

Land degradation, defined as lowering and losing of soil functions, is

becoming more and more serious worldwide in recent days, and poses a

threat to agricultural production and terrestrial ecosystem. It is estimated that nearly 2 billion ha of soil resources in the world have been degraded, namely approximately 22% of the total cropland, pasture, forest, and woodland. Globally, soil erosion, chemical deterioration and physical degradation are the important parts amongst various types of land degradation.

As a natural process, land degradation can be enhanced or dampened by a variety of human activities such as inappropriate agricultural management, overgrazing, deforestation, etc. Therefore, it is essential to combat land degradation at different levels and scales worldwide, not only for food security and ecological health, but also for the guarantee of global sustainable development.

Asia is the first big continent in the world.The total area of the Asia Region is about 4 4,000,000 square kilometers, composition world land total area 29.4%. Asia has the largest area under drylands.

Asian region desertification status map The regional mapping work was started in January 2004, and was finished in December 2004.

In Asia, the desertification mainly occurs in arid and half arid area, Failures of resource management policies are aggravated by overgrazing, overexploitation of water and land resources, overcultivation of marginal lands, and the rapid increase in population.

90% of it lies within arid, semi-arid and dry subhumid areas.

West Asia is one of the desertification degree of hazard highest areas. For most areas shifting sand dunes are incapable of sustaning plants life.West Asia has a special and unusual climate.This is the so-called “Mediterranean” climate. Wind erosion, water erosion, Soil salinization,large population and backward productivity has accelerated the desertification.

This region is considered to be among the highest annual population growth, this vary from one country to another but as average it is more than 2.4%.

West Asia Saudi Arabia is the biggest country in west Asia area The majority of areas in Saudi Arabian are the desert, It was called “beatific desert ”, but the Environment are worsening.

beatific desert in Saudi Arabia Iran is a plateau and the mountainous region interaction country, the majority is located on the Iranian plateau. The eastern area is the dry basin, composition land total area 1/3.

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South Asia has a much higher population density, creating severe land pressures. Intensively over-grazing, marginal cultivation, sand dunes, which have a high rate of movement expanded the desertification.

Desertification is a major problem in the drylands of India. Thar Desert in western India, it is the biggest desert in the south Asian area.The majority of area non-plant growth, The intense dust storm is important disaster, the inhabitant many has been moving about in search of pasture the life.

Status in Land Degradation

Salinization Forest –Vegetation Degradation

Manmade Water Erosion The Aral Sea in Central Asia was once the world’s fourth largest inland sea.It was also one of the world's most fertile regions.

Because the dry sea water, about 1 million tons of salty dust has already enter the air.The problem of the Aral sea not only puzzles in Central Asia region, it has already became the global ecological crisis.

–  –  –

The dry sea creates the serious sand storm. It have picked up millions of tons salt and scattered.The bottom of the dry sea has formed the area approximately 36000km2 salt beach- Area sea desert. The plentiful plantation and 15% of meadow and the massive forest resources which around the Aral sea have been swallowed, the fish in the Aral sea have died out.

Scientists estimated that 90% of Mongolia’s area can be subject to desertification, about 41% have already been severely affected by desertification.

MONGOLIA Mongolia is landlocked country with sharp continental climate ( low precipitation,high daily and seasonal variations of temperature,strong sand and dust storms ) which aggravate the risk of desertification.

In Mongolia the main reason of desertification are land degradation as a result of irrational utilization of land, water and forest resources, overgrazing, cutting trees and shrubs for fuel and cultivation in the background of natural factors. Animals such as rodent, grasshoppers and goats fully destroy vegetation.They increase desertification.

The south is the Gobi Desert. The Gobi desert stretches across southern Mongolia and northern China.

According to China's Environmental Protection Agency, the Gobi Desert grew by 20,000 square miles from 1994 to 1999, and its steadily advancing edge now sits a mere 150 miles north of Beijing.

China is one of the countries which is affected by desertification with big area, wide distribution and serious adverse impact. The usable land resources in China is very limited. The land area encroached by desertification every year reaches 2460 sq.km.





According to “The Chinese desertification report” by the State Forestry Administration in 2005. About 2,636,200 square kilometers, or 27.46 percent of China’s total land area is affected by desertification.

wilderness Desert Desertificationland Sand The ancient trees type “Huyang”, it have past 3 - 6 million years historical from now.

Vegetation Destruction Caused by Impact of Drought Serious Destroyed &Degraded Meadow by Overgrazing in Inner Mongolia, The removal of vegetation is an immediate cause of desertification.

Overcultivation causes the land to degenerate The yellow sand approaches the village Badanjilin desert is the third biggest desert in China,also is the fluctuating one of biggest deserts in the world, until now it still had more than 10,000 square kilometers regions nobody to tread to, the area is mystical.

Kubuqi desert is the seventh biggest desert in China.The total area is about 1.45 million hectares, the moving dunes approximately composes 61%.

Ulanbuh desert The Taklimakan desert in western China, is one of the world's largest sandy wastes, occupying an area of 105,020 square miles in the central Tarim Basin. The desert is flanked by high mountain ranges including the Tien Shan to the north, the Kunlun Mountains to the south, and the Pamirs to the west. Almost the entire region is devoid of plant cover.

The research indicated that, The Taklimakan desert possibly forms in 4.5 million years ago.

The Taklimakan desert which was taken by Chinese astronaut from the Chinese manned spaceship Shenzhou 6 in 2005.

On March 26, 2004, MODIS/Aqua captured this true-color image of a dust storm blowing over the sands of the Taklimakan Desert. Several hundred kilometers across, the dust storm covered the desert.Strong Spring weather systems capable of generating wind speeds of 60 mph can last for days across the high steppe deserts of western China and Mongolia.

Salinlzation land in desert The Taklimakan desert Desertification has come to the forefront of global concerns, as demonstrated in the number of international conferences and conventions, most recently, the Convention to Combat Desertification. The Convention defines desertification as a process of land degradation resulting from various factors including both climatic variation and change and human activities.

Benchmark & Indicators for Desertification Monitoring & Assessment in Asia Guided by the provisions of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), The Asian Regional Thematic Programme Network on Desertification Monitoring and Assessment, abbreviated as TPN1, was launched in July, 1999 in Beijing, China.

The Task Group Meeting on Benchmark and Indicators for Desertification Monitoring and Assessment under the TPN1 was held in Chinese Academy of Forestry. A proposed common set of benchmarks and indicators has been agreed upon at the meeting for comments, suggestions and further development.

TPN1 Meeting Beijing China 2003.10 UNCCD-CRRC3 Bonn Germany 2005.5

The proposed indicator system includes four aspects:

Pressure indicators characterize driving forces both natural and man-made, affecting the status of natural resources and leading to desertification. They will be used to assess desertification trends and for early warning.

State indicators characterize the status of natural resources including land.

Desertification impact indicators will be used to evaluate the effects of desertification on human beings and environment.

Implementation indicators will be used to assess the actions taken for combating desertification and to assess its impacts on natural resources and human beings.

From the end of 2001 to early 2003 feed back on the Benchmark and Indicators proposal have been received from most of the TPN1 member countries so the proposal has been firstly revised to reflect part of the comments and suggestion.

The desertification benchmarks and indicator system is the basic work for Asian region desertification remote sensing monitoring and assessment in a large area and a large scale.

The remote sensing, the geographic information system, the global positioning system technology development, has provided the powerful technical support for Land degradation Monitoring &Assessment. Also it provide early-warning indicators of desertification trends.

一 一 九 九 九 八 六 九 年 年 卫 卫 星 星 影 影 像 像 图 图 一 一 九 九 八 九 九 六 年 年 卫 卫 星 星 影 影 像 像 图 图 Land Use Change Map in Hebei Province China

–  –  –

● Project of returning farmland to forested land ● Three Noth Shelterbelt Development Program and the project and the harnessing the wind and sand source areas in Beijing and Tianjin ● Shelterbelt system construction project in the Yangtzi River valley ● Wildlife and plant conservation and nature reserve construction project ● Intensively-management plantation project China has been identified as the host country to coordinate TPN1 activities among the member countries in establishing the Asian Regional Desertification Monitoring and Assessment Network.

Many countries and institutions have made achievement in this area. All of the efforts and results will contribute to combat desertification, the serious hazard to our planet.

To implement TPN1 activities, a national network was established in India. By using satellite data, the desertification status map was made in a national level. The method for desertification remote sensing monitoring and assessment in a large area and a large scale have been developed.

Japanese scientists have made the deeply study on desertification monitoring and assessment by applying satellite remote sensing and GIS technology.

Mongolian scientists collected and analyzed vast ground truth data on relief, soil type erosion, salinity, vegetation cover, biomass and fodder resources, ground water level, wind speed and frequency, days with dust storm, precipitation, drought duration, fauna and flora species and produced the desertification map.

The map shows that a large part of the country land suffers from a moderate or high degree of degradation.

In Iran, Plantation and irrigation system protection, mitigating the effects of air pollution and dust storm, monitoring & management drought.The actions have been taken for combating desertification in a lager area.

Desertification is the degradation of ecosystem on the surface of the earth.

It is a science in which natural and social science overlap and interact with each other.

The necessity for global cooperation in combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought has been well recognized by international community.

The United Nations newest statistics indicated that more than 110 countries in the world have been deeply influenced by desertification.

Above 1000000000 people under the threat. Although the actions have been taken for combating desertification worldwide, but desertification still assumes the tendency in expanding and intense globally.

The investigation data indicated, desertification have been kept within limit partial. Actually it is still expanding in the whole world and many problems have not yet been solved.

The desertification area namely approximately 30% of the total land, it trends 5 - 70,000 km2 spread every year.

The research for land degradation status which referred above, lay the foundation for assessing current land degradation trends in the Asia Region.

Asia is one of the desertification most serious areas, more than one half of the arid area have been influenced, especially Central Asia region is most serious.

Asia takes most population in the world. As the rapid economic development in Asian countries, the heavy demands to the land become more increasingly.

Using the satellite remote sensing technology for desertification monitoring and assessment in a large area and a large scale is just in very beginning. some developed countries have made successful experience by applying the advanced spatial technology. It will promote the progress in the study field.

Keeping desertification from expanding is an important aspect for co-existence of human and nature. To containment desertification, is the global common responsibility and the duty.

Fruitful and successful implementation of TPN1 will assuredly facilitate Asian countries’ actions for combating desertification and improve Asian natural environment toward sustainable development.



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