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The Great Green Wall: Reforesting China

According to data from Greenpeace, only 2% of China's original forests remain intact while only 0.1% of forestland is officially protected. Deforestation in the country has resulted in massive biodiversity loss and is being blamed for everything from mudslides to heavy pollution in Beijing. The situation is similar in different parts of Asia, including developing giants like India and Indonesia. Environmentalists say recent flooding and landslides in Java, which killed at least 19 people, were exacerbated by deforestation.

Both China and India have programs to reforest and "re-green" areas that have been damaged by the clearing away of primeval forests, though China's is by far the largest. China's "Great Green Wall" aims to stop the encroaching deserts by planting an astonishing amount of trees. Through creating the largest man-made forest in the world the Communist Party says that it has already succeeded in covering 20% of the country in forestland. Its goal is to have China 42% forests by 2050. It would seem that China's biggest — and most internationally unsung — weapon against climate change is planting trees.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014