China's food security dilemma was touched on in a previous Climate Frog article, where a new policy was announced to set a bottom limit to the area of arable land in the country.
The Ministry of Forestry tells, on its Web site, that deserts cover 20% of China's territory, ranging from the upper reaches of the Yellow River, on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau and parts of Inner Mongolia and Gansu. In an article published on Planet Ark, a Ministry spokesperson describes the need to continue the huge effort China is making to stem the spread of these deserts.
This effort - consisting largely of mass tree planting campaigns - has become especially intense as the 2008 Olympics approach and China has committed to eliminating the chance that sandstorms (which have become increasingly common and widespread in recent years) will disrupt the event and embarrass the government.
"Experts say that the series of anti-desertification measures our country has taken has obtained obvious results, which have had an important effect on improving people's livelihood," it said.
"But at present the anti-desertification situation remains serious, and is still the main ecological problem which restricts our sustainable socio-economic development," the ministry added.
"Stepping up control efforts is of the utmost urgency."