According to the New York Times, China loses about 3,500 km2 of farm and pasture land to desertification every year. In response, the Government has been investing in a huge strategy called the ‘Green Wall of China’ — a plan to install trees in a green belt that protects against erosion.
Zhijian Yi is one of the scientists from Chongqing Jiaotong University that has created a paste from plant cells that can reverse the damage to farmland caused by drought. Working in tandem with Chaohua Zhao, based at the university’s Department of Mechanics, the team wanted to see if sand could be used to grow crops — in short, whether desert could be transformed into farmland.
Yi and Zhao stress that the paste, which is mixed with water to produce viable soil, is “non-toxic, environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and suitable for mass production.” The soil is equipped to retain water and nutrients, helping plants grow. The product has been tested in the dry and windy Ulan Buh Desert, a place they now say now houses “more than 70 kinds of plants”, alongside populations of birds, mice and frogs.Tags: china, Drought