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Desertification control technology of NW China’s Xinjiang has benefited other countries

Shiliuyun-Xinjiang Daily (Reporter Xie Huibian) news: "China's desertification control technology has provided a systematic solution for the ecological barrier construction of the capital circle of Kazakhstan, and we look forward to further large-scale promotion," Rakhimzhanov Alimzhan Nursultanovich, director of the Research Institute of Forestry of Kazakhstan, told the reporter on October 10, 2023.

Photo shows students of the 3rd Taklimakan Desert Forum and 2nd Training Workshop on Desertification Combating for the Great Green Wall of Africa visit the protective forest along the Tarim Desert Highway in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. (Photo provided by Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Since the proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, has signed cooperation agreements with research institutes and universities of 28 countries that are jointly building the Belt and Road. The desertification control technology in Xinjiang has benefited 17 countries that are jointly promoting the Belt and Road Initiative, including demonstration and promotion in 8 countries, with a total extension area of more than 50,000 hectares.

Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, is located in the central-northern desert grassland of Kazakhstan. It is known as the "City of Wind" due to frequent windy weather. In response to the urgent technical problems such as forest deterioration and difficulties of afforestation in poor soil, scientists from Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography have cooperated with institutions such as S. Seifullin Kazakh Agrotechnical University. They successfully selected 8 tree species suitable for the construction of ecological barriers, and broke through the technical bottleneck of afforestation on arid slopes and gravel land. Currently, a 23-hectare experimental demonstration base has been established.

In addition, the research team of Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography has also collaborated with research institutions and universities in countries such as Mauritania, Nigeria, and Ethiopia in Africa, proposing a scientific and technological action plan for China's support for the construction of the “Green Great Wall in Africa”. They have developed and formed technologies suitable for extreme environments, and difficult ecological construction operations, including mechanical sand control, ecological restoration of shrub-grasslands, and water collection and vegetation restoration of low-altitude hilly areas. They have also proposed a sand control system plan for the capital circle of Mauritania.

In Ethiopia, the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography has established a model for shrub-grassland restoration and sustainable development in low-altitude areas, benefiting 43,000 people from 13 communities. "China's experience, measures, and technologies are all good models for us. In the future, we also hope to strengthen cooperation in personnel training and other aspects," said Zinabu Bora, director of the Pastoral Area Livelihood Research Center of Oromia Pastoral Area Development Commission in Oromia regional state, Ethiopia.

"While promoting technologies and strengthening scientific research cooperation, we have paid more attention to the training of local talents," said Wang Yongdong, a researcher at the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography. Up to now, the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography has established 5 joint research centers, 19 field monitoring stations, and 10 experimental demonstration zones in Central Asia, Africa, etc. It has trained technicians from 11 countries from Central Asia and Africa.

Wang Yongdong said that the research team will comprehensively evaluate the suitability of the “Chinese model” for desertification control, propose a list of supply and demand for desertification control technologies, promote transnational and cross-regional desertification monitoring, technology integration, and demonstration applications, further develop optimize technological models suitable for the local area, and contribute to the construction of the green Silk Road.

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