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A New Great Wall of China

25 September 2009

A scene along Restless River at Yulin (榆林市无定河畔), north Shaanxi Province, in Yellow River Basin, as on July 23, 2009

The hilly gully region of the Yellow Earth Plateau in north Shaanxi Province (陕北黄土高原) is a land that nurtured Chinese civilization and the modern new China. It also serves as a mirror to the health state of the middle kingdom and the middle kingless-dom.

Yellow River Basin (《黄土高原》)

A Chinese ink painting by renowned contemporary Chinese artist Wu Guanzhong (吴冠中)

During the recent centuries, the environment in the region deteriorated to the point that the area became one of the poorest places in China, experiencing severe water loss and soil erosion. In 1949, the vegetation cover rate in Yulin County (榆林) was below 1.8%, with 258 million tons of yellow soil and sand rushing into the Yellow River each year in Yanan County (延安) along.

The Yellow River basin area as it used to be in the last few centuries

Since 1949, a battle of vegetation restoration and soil remediation began. In a time span of merely half a century Yulin created 4 green belts formed by newly planted drought-resistant trees with a total length of 1,500km, which becomes new Great Walls defending the land within. Now Yulin has vegetation coverage over 30 percent; and in Yanan, the soil loss has been reduced to less than 5,400 tons a year.

The Yellow River basin area today

(Source of info/photo: 陶明, 骆之明- 新华社)

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