HKDSE Geography/E2/Solutions to Sandstorms

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Planting Trees

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Large-scale afforestation projects can allow tree roots to bind soil particles together to better resist wind erosion and prevent sandstorms. The trees can also reduce wind speed. Green belts/shelterbelts/windbreaks can achieve this. If not, grass can be planted to gold the soil. The Three North Shelterbelt Programme is an example., spanning 4 million sq. km of northern China.

Alternative: Straw Checkerboards

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In arid areas, afforestation is ineffective since trees will die easily and are hard to grow. Straw checkerboards are used in Northwest China to check the spreading of deserts.


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Returning farmlands and pasturelands to woodlands can also increase vegetation cover. Farmers are subsidised to grow cash crops and practise crop rotation in humid areas, and created eco-tourism jobs as well.

Warning and Monitoring System

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Remote sensing is used to monitor the development of sandstorms and warning signals are hoisted if necessary.

East-to-West Water Transmission Project

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To combat desertification in Xinjiang and Gansu, sea water from the Bo Hai is transported to Lop Nur in the Tarim Pendi in Xinjiang. More evaporation and condensation occur, effectively controlling desert spreading.


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  • Population growth of ethnic minorities has hindered its success. They are growing in numbers exceeding the carrying capacity of land.
    • Xinjiang: Land can only support 7 people/km but population density is 10 people/km
  • There is great economic burden on the government.
  • Illegal devegetation remains serious.
  • The arid climate is unfavourable for tree growth.