Tibetan desert

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    Shortly after departing from Cuo Na Hu railway station we encountered these sandy, desert like conditions with those interesting rock patterns we saw so aften along the tracks. According to our Beijing guide, Da Li, these are handmade structures used to trap sand during storms - part of the Chinese strategy to fight desertification.

    Deserts now cover 18 percent of China. Of those, 78 percent are natural, while 22 percent were created by humans. Since 1978, Chinese forestry engineers have been supervising the planting of the Great Green Wall. Some 4,500 kilometres in length, the tree barrier is intended, when completed in several decades, to prevent desertification by protecting the fragile land from wind.

    Another project of equally immense proportions is the South-to-North Water Transfer. It aims to redirect to the north, by the year 2050 via a network of canals, about 50 billion cubic metres of water per year from the rivers of southern and central China. The project will obliterate heritage sites and engulf villages and towns.

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