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US Textbook Recognizes Importance of Desertification Control in Otindag Sandland
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A case study of desertification control in Otindag Sandland of China is presented in the 6th edition of the US textbook Geology and the Environment.

This case study, titled Is desertification swallowing China?, appears in the 12th chapter of the book published in 2010. The author argues that desertification poses a severe challenge to 400 million people in China and things do not change for better in spite of the efforts nevertheless exerted by government organizations. Meanwhile, however, the author recognizes the importance of ecological restoration experiment for combating desertification in Otindag Sandland of Inner Mongolia by the research group headed by JIANG Gaoming from Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IOB).

The analysis results suggest that in order to better tackle desertification in that area, trees may be replaced by grass because trees depend on groundwater, while grass may simply depend on rainwater. In the experiment, a major part of the area practiced enclosure and grazing prohibition, and a minor part concentrated on planting pasture grass or raising poultry instead of domestic animals for five years. These measures turned out effective: the number of sandstorms has been reduced on the one hand, and people’s income has been improved on the other, thus achieving the balance between protection of ecosystems and the development of populations who live in them.

JIANG’s ecological restoration experiment started in the year of 2000. Up to now, the principle of restoring nature with force of nature advanced by IOB researchers has become a major pattern for control of degraded ecosystems in China. And the results of the experiment have been reported on page 314-316 in the 317th volume of the journal Science in 2007.

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