We need to understand the basic land degradation problem

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					    Land Degradation in China:
       Erosion and Salinity

               A Report



              World Bank


             Jikun Huang

 Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences

              March 2000
              Land Degradation in China: Erosion and Salinity Component

                                            Jikun Huang

I. Introduction

     For longer than any other agrarian civilization, farmers have tilled and tamed China's soil,
tapped its water resources and used its forest and pastures. By most international standards, the
Chinese government has successfully controlled these elements for the past four decades to meet its
food and fiber needs and fuel its modernization drive. Despite a population of 1.25 billion, China
has harnessed its resource base to produce enough agricultural products to provide its rural citizens
with sufficient food, clothing and housing, as well as a wealth of reasonably priced products for its
rapidly growing urban and industrial economy.

     In the course of this ancient legacy and its contemporary development effort, however, the
natural environment of rural China has become subjected to increasing pressures (He, 1991; World
Bank, 1992; Wang, et. al, 1993; Yan, 1994; SEPA, 1999). In the recent years, academicians and
policymakers have developed a rising awareness of the environment's fragility and have begun to
ask if it is sustaining damage that could affect China's long run welfare (Qu and Li, 1984; Ge and
Yao, 1998; SEPA, 1999). The seriousness of the degradation problem and the government's success
in addressing adverse environmental impacts has been a source of controversy. Some authors
believe China is on a path heading straight towards a full-scale environmental disaster (He, 1991;
Smil, 1994, 1993). Others counsel patience before drawing conclusions since existing information
sources do not provide reliable indicators (Lindert, 1996). Some blame poor government policy (He,
1991; Yan, 1994; Zhang, 1993; World Bank, 1992; Wang, 1993), while others noted the leadership's
progress in controlling some of the worst pollution and degradation (Ross, 1988; Lu, 1997; SEPA,
1999). The evidence however is piecemeal; most observers have depended largely on anecdotes to
infer on the trends and magnitudes of changes in the environment.

     Whatever the claims made in the past, issues of land degradation in China have received an
increasing amount of attention since 1980s (Smil, 1984; Rose, 1988; Zhao, et al., 1991; He, 1991;
World Bank, 1992; CAS, 1990, 1991 and 1992; Huang and Rozelle, 1995; SAWG, 1998 and 1999;
SEPA, 1999). Although this trend no doubt reflects greater access to reliable information, in many
areas signs indicate that conditions are getting worse (Smil, 1993; Rozelle, et. al., 1997; Yang, 1997;
MOWR, 1998; Wang, 1999).

     Several key questions arise for policymakers when they address the challenge of how to sustain
economic development with increasing environmental stress. What is the real current situation of
land degradation and how has it been changing over time? How does the land degradation differ
across regions? What are the main underlying causes of the land degradation? What are the national
goals of environmental protection in terms of land degradation? What are the key measures that
have been adopted by the government to achieve the goals? How we can learned from the previous
experiences and lessons that could be used to help the decision-maker to formulate more conductive
policies in controlling land degradation in the future? What suggestions can we make to help
improve the effectiveness of the government's approach?

     The answers to these questions have important implications for future reforms of China's
environmental policies and investment in environmental protection institutions. Lack of consistent
time series and cross section data preclude previous studies from providing convincing arguments
for raising the awareness of environmental stress. Data limitation also precludes an exhaustive study
of the long-term economic and environmental costs of land degradation.

    The objective of this paper is to try to have a better understanding of the questions raised above
and to support the Government and the World Bank’s efforts of developing and improving

environmental strategy in China. To realize this objective, the paper is organized as follows. In the
next section, the current situation and development trends of two of the major agricultural land
degradation categories: soil erosion and salinization, will be discussed. 1 The third section will
examine the underlying causes of these trends. A brief review of the major government measures to
address agricultural land degradation and land-related policies is provided in the fourth section.
Finally, experiences, lessons learned and gaps in strategy and policy recommendations are
summarized in the last section. This paper benefits largely from several previous studies and a new
data set that were collected by authors in recent years2.

II. Current Status and Recent Trends

     China suffers seriously from land degradation. Despite of great effort in the conservation of
soil erosion and salinity since 1950s, serious agricultural land degradations, including both erosion
and salinization, continue to present and seem to become worse over time. Empirical studies show
these land degradations have strong negative impacts on environmental (Liu and Lu, 1999; Qian,
1991; Wen, 1995), economic (Wen, 1995; Huang and Rozelle, 1995 and 1997), and social

Soil Erosion
An overview
    China is one of the most serious soil eroded countries in the world. According to a statistics
announced by Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) through satellite remote sensing technology in
December 1992, for example, the land suffering from soil erosion reached 3.75 million km2 in
1980s (Table 1; Peng and Xu, 1993). This is about 2.5 times as high as the original statistics (about

    Table 1. Various estimates of eroded land area in China.
                                                                              Eroded area (000 km2)
    Authors/study                                    Year                 Total      Water        Wind

    Chinese Academy of Sciences (1992)               Early 1990s           3750

    Lu (1999) and EBCAY (1999)                       1990s                 3670           1790           1880

    Yang (1997)                                      1950s                                1530
                                                     1990s                                1796

    SEPA (1999)                                      Late 1990s            3670           1790           1880

    Ministry of Water Resource                       1990                                 1364
     (1991,1997)                                     1996                                 1827

    Huang and Rozelle (1995)                         1993                                 1630

  It should be noted that while land degradation includes many categories such as soil erosion, salinization,
various pollution, deforestation, desertification, grassland (rangeland) degradation, and wetland problems, et al.,
this paper will deal with only two of the major categories, soil erosion and salinization.
  The discussions provided in this paper are drawn largely from the previous studies and some new
information/data that are collected by us in the recent years. Data on national trend, regional distribution, case
studies, and related information used in this paper come from various published reports of academies and
government agencies, such as the Ministries of Water Resource (MOWR), Ministry of Agriculture (MOA),
State Environment Protection Administration (SEPA), and State Statistical Bureau (SSB).

      Rozelle and Jiang (1995)                        1991                               1620

1.5 million km2) that was used officially. While it is not sure whether this figure has been adopted
fully by the government, it is clear that the recent publication has made the adjustment accordingly
to a very similar level as the above (Table 1). A most frequent figure that has been cited in the
academic literature and used by the government is 3.67 million km2 (MOWR, various publications;
SEPA, 1999; Lu, 1999). These account for about 39.4% of the national land.3

     The high level of land erosion area in China is clearly associated with its natural environment.
Sixty-eight percent of China's total area of 9.6 million km2 is classified as mountainous (33.3%),
hilly (9.9%) and plateau regions (26.0%), and, by definition, vulnerable to erosion (Table 2). The
characteristics of this land, to some extent, determine its size of erosion and the distribution of
erosion across region. However, the rising trend of erosion over time is mainly attributed to the
factors that related to human activities on the social and economic development as well as policy

       Table 2. Balance sheet of China's geography and land utilization, 1998.
                                                    Area              Share in the total land areas (%)
       Land Type                            (million square km)

       Total Land area                                    9.6                                100

         By Geographical Features
                Mountains                                 3.2                                33.3

                Plateaus                                  2.5                                26.0

                Basins                                    1.8                                19.8

                Plains                                   1.15                                12.0

                Hills                                    0.95                                9.9

         By Land Use
                Cultivated Areaa                         0.95                                9.9

                Forest Area                              1.34                                13.9

                Fresh Water Bodies                       0.17                                1.8

               Grass Land--Total                         4.00                                41.7
             (Usable Grassland)                          3.13                               (32.6)
                Other                                    3.14                                32.7
       Note: The underestimation of cultivated land area is about 40% (Crook, 1993). This implies cultivated
       land area could be more than 1.33 million square km, or nearly 14% of total land area.
       Source: ZGTJNJ, 1999.

    China's total area is 9.60 million km2, with 9.32 million km2 land and 0.175 million km2 in-land water area.

     Using the percentage of eroded to the total land areas as a measure for the extent of land
erosion problem, China is one of the most serious soil eroded countries in the world. In 1990s, the
percentage of eroded to the total land area reached 39.4%. This is about 1.6 and 2.9 times as high as
in Asia (24.2%) and Africa (13.6), 7-8 times higher than those in North America and Oceanic, and
more than 3 times as high as the average for the world (12.3%, Table 3).

   Table 3: The extent of soil erosion in China and the rest of world.

                        Land area               Eroded area                    Percentage Share in total
   Region                (million              (million km2)                    of eroded  erosion (%)
                          km2)           Total     Water     Wind               area (%) Water Wind

   Africa                 30312          4130        2270         1860                13.6   55     45
   Asia                   27378          6630        4410         2220                24.2   67     33
                           9425          3670        1790         1880                38.9   49     51
   North America          21515           950         600          350                4.4    63     37
   Latin America          20550          2460        1690          770                12.0   69     31
   Europe                 27274          1560        1140          420                5.7    73     27
   Oceanica                8507           990         830          160                11.6   84     16

   World                  135536        16720        10940        5780                12.3   65     35
   Note: China's data are for 1980s and years for other regions are not identified.
   Source: China's figures are from Table 2 and the rest are from Wang, 1997.

     Among those eroded lands, nearly half of them (1.79 million km2) belong to water erosion and
the other half is due to wind erosion (Table 1 and 3). Table 4 presents various erosions and degree
of erosion in the Loess Plateau, a region suffers the most serious land degradation in China. Table 4
divides the total land area in the region into 3 categories: land mainly exposures to wind erosion, to
both water and wind erosion, and water erosion. As Table 4 shows, area under water and water-
wind erosion categories accounts for about 75% of the total eroded area in the region. Land area
with more than 5,000 tons/km2 annual soil loss reached 211.3 thousand km2 in the late 1980s, about
34% of the total land area in the region. Twelve percent of land were serious suffered from water
erosion, with annual soil loss of 10,000 tons/km2 (Table 4).

   Table 4. Various soil erosion in Loess Plateau region in the late 1980s.
   Soil erosion                           Eroded area              Percentage of the total area
                                          (1000 km )                          (%)
   Wind erosion                              156.5                             25
   Water-wind erosion                        178.2                             29
     >5,000t/km2.a                           105.7                             17
     >10,000t/km .a                           48.4                              8
   Water erosion                             289.3                             46
    >5,000t/km2.a                            105.6                             17
    >10,000t/km . a                           27.5                              4
   Total area                                624.0                            100

   Source: SAWG’s annual working report, pp12.

     Within the cultivated land, it is estimated that the land suffering from erosion (both water and
wind erosions) reached 45.4 million hectares, about 25% of total eroded area or nearly 50% of total
cultivated land (Yang, 1994). One third to a half of the cultivated land is deficient in P, one fourth
to one-third is deficient in K, and the soils deficient in micronutrients are also increased (Appendix
Table 1 and Gong, 1999).
The National Trend of Eroded Land Area

     Almost all case studies show that the land suffered from both water and wind erosion has
increased significantly in the last decades, most ranging from 20% to 30% (CAS, 1990; Peng and
Xu, 1993; Liu and Lu, 1999). Geologists and hydrologists have also shown evidence the rate of
erosion has increased (CAS, 1991 and 1992; World Bank, 1992). For example, a recent study cited
by Yang (1997) indicates that for the nation as a whole, land eroded from water has raised from
1.53 million km2 in 1950s to about 1.796 million km2 in 1990s (Table 1).

   Table 5. Water caused land erosion area in China, 1973-1996.
                               Water eroded land area                      Percentage of water eroded
   Year                               (000 km2)                                 area in total land
                                         (1)                                           (%)
   1973                                1176.50                                         12.3
   1974                                1165.19                                         12.1
   1975                                1196.30                                         12.5
   1976                                1192.02                                         12.4
   1977                                1187.74                                         12.4
   1978                                1183.46                                         12.3
   1979                                1181.72                                         12.3
   1980                                1183.04                                         12.3
   1981                                1203.33                                         12.5
   1982                                1208.97                                         12.6
   1983                                1203.43                                         12.5
   1984                                1210.37                                         12.6
   1985                                1292.23                                         13.5
   1986                                1310.77                                         13.7
   1987                                1320.18                                         13.8
   1988                                1338.06                                         13.9
   1989                                1348.30                                         14.0
   1990                                1364.00                                         14.2
   1991                                1623.02                                         16.9
   1992                                1626.21                                         16.9
   1993                                1630.40                                         17.0
   1994                                1630.45                                         17.0
   1995                                1630.47                                         17.0
   1996                                1826.64                                         19.0
   Note: Interview with the officials from Ministry of Water Resource revealed that the statistics on eroded
   land (soil) areas reported by the Ministry are water eroded land area. Wind eroded land or soil areas are
   not included. Comparing the figures in this table with those reported in Table 2 also indicate MOWR's
   figures are close to the eroded area due to water erosion (1880 thousand square kilometers in Table 1)
   Source: Ministry of Water Resource, various issues.

     While time series data are not available for the land area suffered from wind erosion, Table 5
shows the trend of eroded land area due to water erosion in China over the period of 1973-1997.4
As Table 5 shows, China has experienced a dramatic increase in the eroded area since 1980s.
Average annual growth rate of eroded area reached 2.67% with an annual increase of 40.2 thousand
km2 during 1980-965. By 1996, water eroded land reached 1826.64 thousand km2, a figure very
closes to those presented in Table 1.

     In the relative term, percentage of water eroded area was about 12.3% in 1970s, raised to 12-
14% in 1980s and reached 17-19% in 1990s (Table 5). In 1970s, the percentage of water eroded
area in China was about 50% higher than the world average (Tables 3 and 5), this rate rose twice as
much as the world average by 1990s.6

The Regional Distribution of Soil Erosion

     China marks physical and ecological diversity. Millions of people live in the rugged
mountainous areas. Most of the serious erosion problems in China occur in four regions, namely
the Loess Plateau, the Red Soils area in Southwest, the North China Plain, and the Northwest
Grasslands, which together covers 70% of China's land area (CAS, 1992). The Loess Plateau region
located mostly in the provinces of Ningxia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Inner Mongolia, and
Henan, contains the world's largest geological deposits of wind-blown loess soil (CAS, 1991 and
1992). The soil, which reaches depths of more than 100 m, is highly erodible because of its finely
granulated and undifferentiated nature.

     The larger differences of land erosion data from various sources and the limitation of time in
conducting this study preclude us from generating a consistent time series database for the total
eroded areas (both water and wind erosion areas). However, Tables 6 and10 do provide some
useful information to infer how water eroded land are distributed across regions and how serious of
the erosion in the major ecological system.

     Table 6 shows that about half of water eroded land are located in the Extended Loess Plateau
(Table 6).7 Water eroded land reached more than 70 million ha (0.7 million km2) in 1990s, or about
one fourth of land in the region are suffered from water erosion.

  It is noted here that the data presented in Table 5 do not match well with other statistics of point estimate (i.e.,
one year) by other sources. A significant change in 1991might reflect a better information available to make a
large adjustment of eroded area in the year, but we believe the trend more or less mirrors the direction of
erosion in China as this is consistent with various case studies. This variable from MOWR is enumerated at the
county level each year by trained county technicians. The county data are then aggregated to the provincial
and national level. Interviews with a number of those actually engaged in the annual tabulation of this series
revealed that the data collection procedures are clearly outlined in a technical and administrative sense, and
there is a concerted effort to come up with consistent data series. The publication of this time series and cross
provincial data were stopped after 1997 for reason that we are not sure so far. But we were told recently by
MOWR officials that termination of publishing these data is because the data are not based on ―scientific
  A large increase in 1991 may reflect a re-adjustment of eroded area with a better information obtained from
the second soil census (conducted in the early 1980s) and a large study by CAS in Loess Plateau in 1988-90.
   The percentage of water eroded area in the total land area for the world is 8.0% (10940/135536=0.08, Table
   Loess Plateau in Table 6 includes all areas in the administrative boundaries of Shanxi, Henan, Shaanxi,
Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, and Inner Mongolia. The total land areas in these 7 provinces are about 4.7 times
larger than the "true" Loess Plateau region presented in Tables 7-10.

Table 6. Water caused erosion area by region, 1975-96.
                                   Year        Annual water Percentage of            Regional share
                                                eroded area  land eroded                  (%)
                                                  (000ha)        (%)
Northeast                        1975-79           16187         20.5                     13.6
                                 1980-84           13299         16.9                     11.1
                                 1985-89           13469         17.1                     10.2
                                 1990-94           14176         18.0                      9.1
                                 1995-96           18507         23.5                     10.7
Extended Loess Plateau              1975-79           63777            21.7               53.7
                                    1980-84           66242            22.5               55.1
                                    1985-89           70897            24.1               53.8
                                    1990-94           70637            24.0               45.2
                                    1995-96           71527            24.3               41.4
Mid-low Yangtze                     1975-79           14119            15.4               11.9
                                    1980-84           15908            17.4               13.2
                                    1985-89           19823            21.7               15.1
                                    1990-94           21778            23.8               13.9
                                    1995-96           22389            24.5               13.0
South                               1975-79           2862              5.0                2.4
                                    1980-84           3022              5.3                2.5
                                    1985-89           4269              7.5                3.2
                                    1990-94           4713              8.3                3.0
                                    1995-96           5021              8.8                2.9
Southwest                           1975-79           10505             9.2                8.8
                                    1980-84           10089             8.8                8.4
                                    1985-89           11169             9.8                8.5
                                    1990-94           32234            28.3               20.6
                                    1995-96           42403            37.2               24.5
North                               1975-79           11337            30.4                9.5
                                    1980-84           11536            30.9                9.6
                                    1985-89           11978            32.1                9.1
                                    1990-94           12709            34.1                8.1
                                    1995-96           12902            34.6                7.5
Xinjiang                            1975-79             71              0.0                0.1
                                    1980-84             87              0.1                0.1
                                    1985-89             86              0.1                0.1
                                    1990-94            103              0.1                0.1
                                    1995-96            125              0.1                0.1
Note: Northeast includes Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang. Extended Loess Plateau includes Shanxi,
Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, and Inner Mongolia. Mid-low Yangtze includes Shanghai,
Jiangshu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, and Hunan. South China includes Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan,
and Guangxi. Southwest includes Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou and Yunnan. North includes Beijing,
Tianjin, Hebei, and Shandong. Tibet is excluded due to lack of data for the region.

     Soil erosion is the principal reason for land degradation and the most serious problem that has
led to the worsening of the ecological problems in the Loess Plateau (CAS, 1992). Wang shows
that the area suffering from soil erosion in the Loess Plateau accounted for 54.3% of the total area
of Loess Plateau in the early 1990s (Table 7). The area where the erosion intensity is greater than
1000 tons/km2 reached 290 thousand km2 and the area where the erosion intensity is larger than 500
tons per square kilometer amounted to 166 thousand km2 in the early 1990s (Table 7). The
provinces with erosion intensity greater than 5,000 tons per square kilometer include Gansu,
Shaanxi and Shanxi, accounted for 36%, 34%, and 20% of the total areas with the same intensity of
erosion (Table 8). In Shaanxi, the areas with erosion intensity greater than 10,000 tons per square
kilometer even reached 73% in the early 1990s (Table 8).

   Table 7. Soil erosion intensity and area in the Loess Plateau region in the early 1990s.
   Erosion intensity        Erosion modulus (t/km2/a.)             Area              Percentage
                                                                   (km2)                (%)
   Total area                                                    623,700
   Slight erosion           <500                                 284,900                 45.7
   Light erosion            500-1000                             47,300                  7.6
   Middle intensity         1000-5000                            125,200                 20.1
   Heavy intensity          5000-10000                           90,000                  14.4
   Extreme intensity        10000-20000                          66,000                  10.6
   Violent intensity        >20000                               10,300                  1.6
   Sum                                                           338,800                 54.3

   Source: Wang, 1999, from Comprehensive Control and Development of the Loess Plateau Region,
   1991: 22.

     According to a CAS's study (1992), a total of 2.2 billion tons of topsoil are washed away every
year on the Loess Plateau, with 70% into the Yellow River and 5% into the Haihe River. The
annual amount of sand resulted from soil erosion is the largest in Shaanxi, with 370 million tons
(Table 8).

   Table 8. Sequence of order of soil erosion intensity in the Loess Plateau region in the early
     Proportion in areas with Proportion in areas with annual Annual amount of sand
     intensity bigger than 5,000 intensity bigger than 10,000 resulted (million t)
     t/km2                          t/km2
      Gansu (36%)                     Shaanxi (73%)                       Shaanxi (800)

      Shaanxi (34%)                   Shanxi (16%)                        Ganxu (460)

      Shanxi (20%)                    Inner Mongolia (11%)                Shanxi (370)

   Source: Wang, 1999. These are based on data obtained by the Loess Plateau Survey Team of the
   Chinese Academy of Sciences.

     Tables 9 and 10 shows how the cultivated land is eroded in China and the degree of this
erosion across region. For the country as a whole, it is estimated there are 45.4 millions hectares of

cultivated land suffered from erosion (Yang, 1994 and Table 9). This is 34.3 % of the total cultivate
land in China.8
    Table 9. Eroded cultivated land area.
                                  Eroded cultivated    Eroded area as % of        Share in the
                                         area         cultivated areas based      nation total
                                     (million ha)      on land census's data          (%)
    All China                                  45.40                      34.3                      100
    Loess Plateau                              11.28                      71.3                      24.8
    Southwest                                  10.17                      52.5                      22.4
    Northeast                                   8.00                      37.4                      17.6
    North                                       7.00                      26.8                      15.4
    South                                       2.12                      22.0                      4.7
    Northwest                                   2.02                      15.3                      4.5
    Qingzang Plateau                            0.19                      19.8                      0.4
    Mid-Low Yangtze                             4.62                      17.8                      10.2
    Source: Yang Ruizhen, 1994, which is based on the national 2 nd soil census.

      Four of 8 regions presented in Table 9, namely Loess Plateau, Southwest, Northwest, and
North China, accounted for 80.2% of the national total erosion areas.9 Confirmed to the discussion
earlier, the Loess Plateau is a region that suffered the most serious from soil erosion. Among the
total cultivated land, more than 70% of them are eroded in the region, this is about the twice as high
as the national average or 2.5 times higher than the rest of China (29%).

     Table 10 also presents the degree of water eroded cultivated land in the Loess Plateau region
(Table 10). Among 11.28 millions hectares eroded land, 4.09 millions hectares or 36.3% are
classified as intensive eroded land. The intensively eroded cultivated land in three regions, Loess
Plateau, Southwest, and Northeast, amounted to 7.59 millions hectares, or 72% of the national total
(Table 10).

    Table 10. Degree of water eroded cultivated land area.
                              Eroded cultivated land area                      Percentage in the total eroded
                                   (million hectare)                                     area (%)
                           Light and median       Intensive                   Light and median      Intensive
    All China                          34.86                 10.54                   76.8                  23.2
    Loess Plateau                       7.19                  4.09                   63.7                  36.3
    Southwest                           8.13                  2.04                   79.9                  20.1
    Northeast                           6.54                  1.46                   81.7                  18.3
    North                               6.29                  0.70                   89.9                  10.1
    South                               1.44                  0.68                   68.0                  32.0
    Northwest                           1.47                  0.56                   72.4                  27.6
    Qingzang Plateau                    0.14                  0.06                   70.9                  29.1
    Mid-Low Yangtze                     3.68                  0.94                   79.6                  20.4

  The cultivated land area used in this table is from the second soil census data. If we use the official cultivated
land data, the eroded cultivated land as percentage of the total cultivated land would be as high as 48%. This
indicates the official cultivated land in China might underestimated by nearly 40% if the soil census data on
cultivate land is correct.
  Note that the definition of the regions is not defined in Yang's paper. Personal communication with the
scientists from CAS suggested that the regional definitions presented in Tables 9, 10, and 12 are not linkage
with administrative boundary. They are mainly based on ecological classification that breaks down the
provincial boundary.

   Source: Yang Ruizhen, 1994, which is based on the national 2nd soil census.

The Regional Trend of Soil Erosion
     Only data set that is available and can present the regional trend of erosion over time is water
eroded land areas assembled by the Ministry of Water Resources. A summary of this information by
region is shown in Table 6. Several points could be made from this table. First, while the Extended
Loess Plateau region has been continued to be the most serious area suffered from erosion, all
regions has presented an increasing trend of erosion over time.

     Second, the most significant increase in the growth rate of erosion is in Southwest China and
Mid-low Yangtze region. The dramatic increase in Southwest China in the early 1990s is due to a
large artificial adjustment in erosion area for Sichuan province in 1991 (rising from 3.71 million
hectares in 1990 to 24.88 million hectares in 1991). This dramatic increase of the eroded land area
definitely should not come from one year, but might reflect a significant under-report of eroded area
in the province prior to 1991 and large increase of eroded areas between 1950s (the first national
soil census) and 1980s (the second national soil census). In the Mid-low Yangtze region, water
eroded area raised by nearly 50% during 1975-95 (Table 6). The most rapid expansion of eroded
area occurred in Hubei (rising from 4.62 million hectare in 1975 to 7.8 million hectares in 1996,
about 70% increase), then followed by Hunan (rising by 250% from 1.79 million hectares to 4.52
million hectares during 1975-96), and Jiangxi (also rising by 250% from 1.63 to 4.10 million
hectares in the same period).

     Third, while great attention has been paid to the traditional most serious eroded area in Loess
Plateau and strong impacts of these efforts on controlling the erosion in this region (Table 6), the
rising erosion problem in Southwest and North China should not be ignored. As percentage of
eroded land in the total land, the statistics in Northwest and North China are now higher than the
Extended Loess Plateau (the 4th column of Table 6). And in terms of the ratio of eroded land to
cultivated land, indeed the Southwest China has been ranged as the top region in China since the
early 1990s. Population growth, deforestation, and agricultural expansion definitely contributed to
the erosion problems in the regions, but a thorough study on the causes of land degradation in the
regions is required in the future. While question may be raised for the accurate of the MOWR's data
on the erosion presented in Table 6, increasing the frequency of flood disasters recently in Yangtze
river basin may explain a lot of reasons underlined the land degradation.


An Overview

     Farmland salinization can cause significant declines in farm productivity, and can become
serious enough to induce producers to remove land from production (Wang, 1991; Huang and
Rozelle, 1994). Poorly-constructed irrigation systems commonly lead to salinization in some
environments, either from inadequate application of water or from sub-standard drainage.
Therefore, despite the extent of salinization problem is less than the soil erosion in the country as a
whole, salinization has also caused serious damage to crop production in many provinces in China.

 Table 11. Various estimates of salinized land area (1000 km2) in China.
                                                       Salinized land area                Salinized
 Authors/study                Year              Total 1.Primary 2. Secondary              cultivate

 Yang (1997)                    Late 1980s          818          449             369        62.6

 Zhang (1999)                  Early 1990s       1000

 MOWR (1991,1997)              1990                                                         75.4
                               1996                                                         77.2
 Huang and Rozelle (1995)      1993                                                         76.6
 Rozelle and Jiang (1995)      1991                                                         76.1
 Note: MOWR – Ministry of Water Resource.

     Most recent estimates of salinized land in China range from 0.818 million km2 (or 81.8 million
hectares) to 1 million km2 (Table 11). Among them, about 55% belong to primary and the rest are
secondary salinized land, the later is closely related to human activities, particular crop production
and related irrigation practices (Wang, 1991).

     The estimate on salinized area within cultivated land ranged from 60,000 to70,000 km2 (or 6-7
million hectares) in 1970-80s and might reach 70-80 thousand km2 in 1990s (Table 11). The
salinized land is mostly concentrated in the flat, water-scarce North China Plain and Northwest dry
region such as Xinjiang (Table 12). Of this area, government targets for improvement have
increased from less than 50% of the damaged areas in the early 1970s to more than 70% recently.
Rectification and maintenance of salinized land requires substantial infrastructure investment. Some
researchers claim that, with increasing water shortages in many northern regions and declining
investment in agriculture, it will be difficult for China to maintain the progress that was achieved in
the past. Salinization will be a chronic problem to sectoral leaders in major grain production regions
such as North China Plain and Northwest China (Rozelle et al., 1997).

   Table 12. Regional distribution of secondary salinized cultivated land in the early 1990s.
                                           Secondary salinized cultivated Regional distribution
                                                         area                           (%)
                                                     (1000 km2)
   Northeast                                               7.6                          12.1
   North                                                  20.6                          32.9
   Loess Plateau                                           3.5                          5.6
   Northwest dry region                                   20.8                          33.2
   Qingzang Plateau                                        0.1                          0.2
   Mid-low Yangtze                                         7.0                          11.2
   South                                                   1.1                          1.8
   Southwest                                               1.9                          3.0
   Total                                                  62.6                           100

   Source: Yang Chaofei, 1997 (cited from Yan Ruizheng, 1994.

The National Trend of Salinized Land Area

     Salinized cultivated land areas have been fairly constant compared to the eroded land areas
since 1970s. The total increase in the salinized land area was 14.4% over the period of 1973-96
(Table 13). Average annual growth rate of salinized area based on MOWR's data set was 0.54% in
1973-96. And the growth rate has been declined from 1.1% in 1970s to 0.65% in 1980s and 0.3%
only in 1990s (computed based on the figures in Table 13). However, as the percentage of salinized
land in total cultivated land, the share has raised from 6.7% in 1973 to more than 8% since the early

The Regional Distribution of Salinized Land

     The salinized land is mostly concentrated in water-scarce and ground water irrigated areas in
North China Plain (for example, Shandong, Hebei, Henan, northern Jiangsu and Anhui) and
Northwest dry region such as Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. Table 14 presents the distribution of
salinized land areas across regions. As the Table shown, North China that includes Beijing, Tianjin,
Hebei, and Shandong in our regional definition suffered most serious problem. While the region
accounts for less than 4% of national total land area, the salinized lands in the region reach 2.3-2.4
million hectares or about 30% of the national total salinized area (Table 14).

Table 13. Salinized cultivated land area in China, 1973-1996.
                   Total cultivated       Salinized         Percentage of      Irrigated land areas
                       land area       cultivated land salinized land in total        (00 ha)
Year                    (000 ha)          (000 ha)          cultivate land
                           (1)               (2)                 (%)
1973                   100212.7            6754.0                 6.7                39222.7
1974                    99912.0            6705.3                 6.7                41269.3
1975                    99708.0            6970.3                 7.0                43284.0
1976                    99388.0            7062.0                 7.1                44981.3
1977                    99247.3            7153.7                 7.2                44999.3
1978                    99389.3            7245.3                 7.3                44965.3
1979                    99498.0            7302.0                 7.3                45003.3
1980                    99305.3            7145.3                 7.2                44888.0
1981                    99037.3            7243.3                 7.3                44574.0
1982                    98606.7            7243.3                 7.3                44176.7
1983                    98359.3            7357.3                 7.5                44650.7
1984                    97854.0            7331.3                 7.5                44452.7
1985                    96846.3            7692.7                 7.9                44036.0
1986                    96229.9            7606.7                 7.9                44226.0
1987                    95888.7            7636.0                 8.0                44403.0
1988                    95721.8            7672.0                 8.0                44375.9
1989                    95656.0            7535.5                 7.9                44917.0
1990                    95672.9            7539.0                 7.9                47403.1
1991                    95653.6            7614.0                 8.0                47822.1
1992                    95425.8            7660.3                 8.0                48590.1
1993                    95101.4            7655.8                 8.1                48727.9
1994                    94906.8            7655.8                 8.1                48759.1
1995                    94975.1            7655.8                 8.1                49281.2
1996                    95466.5            7724.8                 8.1                50381.4
Source: Ministry of Water Resource, various issues.

     The large salinized areas (nearly 2 million hectares) in Extended Loess Plateau is simply
because of the following three provinces: Henan (0.8 million hectares), Inner Mongolia (0.5 million
hectare), and Shanxi (0.35 million hectares). Indeed the most of salinized land in Henan is located
in North China Plain too.

    In three Northeast provinces, the salinized land areas are about 300-600 thousand hectares in
each province. Xinjiang is one of the top provinces and autonomous regions where the salinized

land ever reached more than 1 million hectares. Other provinces that have reached a level about 1
million hectares of salinized land are Hebei and Shandong.

      Table 12 shows how the secondary salinized cultivated lands are distributed across regions
based on the second national soil census data.10 The large areas of the secondary salinized land in
North China (Mainly Henan, Hebei, Shangdong and Tianjin) and Northwest dry region (Mainly
Xinjiang and Gansu and part of Inner Mongolia) confirm to the MOWR's data presented in Table 14.
It is interested to note that all these regions are water shortage provinces and ground water is the
major source of irrigation in the local crop production as well as other water uses in non-farming
(industrial and domestic) activities.

The Regional Trend of Salinized Land
     Similar to the national trend, the salinized land areas have been reasonably constant in most

Table 14. Annual salinized land area by region, 1975-96.
                             Year          Salinized    Percentage of Ratio of salinized            Regional
                                              area      land salinized area to cultivated            share
                                            (000ha)          (%)         land area (%)                (%)
Northeast                   1975-79          1247            1.6               7.7                    16.9
                            1980-84          1182            1.5               7.2                    15.7
                            1985-89          1223            1.5               7.5                    16.0
                            1990-94          1227            1.6               7.5                    16.1
                            1995-96          1226            1.6               7.5                    15.9
Extended Loess Plateau      1975-79          1685            0.6               6.6                    22.8
                            1980-84          1900            0.6               7.6                    25.3
                            1985-89          1957            0.7               8.2                    25.6
                            1990-94          1966            0.7               8.2                    25.8
                            1995-96          1982            0.7               8.1                    25.8
Mid-low Yangtze             1975-79           776            0.8               3.7                    10.5
                            1980-84           855            0.9               4.1                    11.4
                            1985-89           866            0.9               4.3                    11.3
                            1990-94           885            1.0               4.4                    11.6
                            1995-96           884            1.0               4.5                    11.5
South                       1975-79           260            0.5               3.6                     3.5
                            1980-84           290            0.5               4.1                     3.9
                            1985-89           319            0.6               4.7                     4.2
                            1990-94           321            0.6               4.8                     4.2
                            1995-96           333            0.6               5.1                     4.3
Southwest                   1975-79             4            0.0               0.0                     0.1
                            1980-84             7            0.0               0.1                     0.1
                            1985-89            12            0.0               0.1                     0.2
                            1990-94             8            0.0               0.1                     0.1
                            1995-96             8            0.0               0.1                     0.1
North                       1975-79          2410            6.5              16.1                    32.6
                            1980-84          2263            6.1              15.4                    30.1
                            1985-89          2263            6.1              15.7                    29.6
                            1990-94          2322            6.2              16.4                    30.5

 The classification of regions in this table differs from Table 14, the former is based on ecological boundary,
while the later is based on provincial administrative boundary.

                              1995-96           2336             6.3                16.7             30.4
Xinjiang                      1975-79           1000             0.6                31.6             13.5
                              1980-84           1027             0.6                32.4             13.6
                              1985-89            996             0.6                32.5             13.0
                              1990-94            892             0.5                28.6             11.7
                              1995-96            921             0.6                29.2             12.0
Note: Northeast includes Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang. Extended Loess Plateau includes Shanxi, Henan,
Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, and Inner Mongolia. Mid-low Yangtze includes Shanghai, Jiangshu, Zhejiang,
Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, and Hunan. South China includes Fujian, Guangdong, Hainan, and Guangxi. Southwest
includes Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou and Yunnan. North includes Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, and Shandong. Tibet is
excluded due to lack of data for the region.
regions over time. A slightly increase was observed in Henan, Shanxi and Shanxi of the Extended
Loess Plateau and some provinces in South China, but the later is very minimal (Table 14).

III. Causes of Erosion and Salinization Problems

Land Erosion

     In section II, we show the higher level of the erodible land in China than that in the rest of the
world is some sort of associating with the nature of China's geography. This linkage of erosion and
geographic nature is also shown in China's regional distribution of eroded land area. Geologists and
hydrologists have shown evidence that the serious erosion in the Loess Plateau region is mainly due
to the soils in the region being inherently low in organic matter and clay content. This makes Loess
soils relatively easy to cultivate, but very susceptible to the serious wind and water erosions (CAS,
1991 and 1992). Similarly, in the Red Soils area, a shallow and acidic soil of high clay content
makes it both erodible and unable to hold water.

     However, a more important question is what are the causes that have been driving the rising
trend of erobible land. Table 15 summarizes major activities that are linked with water and soil

 Table 15. Major Causes of Erosion and Salinization expansion in China.
 Soil erosion     Deforestation: High population growth press; Poverty; High demand for lumber and
                                 fuel wood; Agricultural expansion; Insecure land tenure; Local market
                  Destruction of grassland: High population growth press; Poverty, High demand for
                                 fuel; Agricultural expansion; Insecure land tenure; Overgrazing
                  Agricultural expansion and intensification: High population press; Poverty and food
                              insecurity; Low investment in agriculture (i.e., irrigation and agricultural
                              infrastructure related development); Marketing and pricing policies; High
                              intensive of farming; Declining soil organic matters.
                  Urbanization and industrialization: Expansion of urban land use; Industrial expansion
                              of land use; Road construction etc.
                  Education: Lack of well-trained environmental protection professionals; Immobility of
                              the uneducated local farmers.
                  Institutional weakness: Laws related property right of land, water and forest; Laws and
                              regulations related to institutional and management setting, authorities, co-
                              ordinations, et al.; Enforcement of law and regulations (vague law but lack
                              of mechanisms to facilitate enforcement).
                  Policies: Low level of productivity enhanced public investment (R&D, extension
                              service, irrigation, education, rural infrastructure development et al); Low
                              investment soil and water conservation projects; Weak linkage between
                              ecological conservation projects with farmer’s income and poverty
                              alleviation such provide no incentive for farm to actively participate in the

                             conservation program; Weak linkage of soil conservation programs with
                             other rural and urban economic development programs, et al.
 Salinization     Poorly designed irrigation systems; Water shortages; Failed irrigation systems – over-
                                 irrigated and improper management; Inappropriate technologies;
                                 improper farming cropping system.
                  Policy: Issues related to water use right and water pricing; Investment in irrigation and
                              drainage system; Intensive agricultural system due to food security policy
                              and other factors.
 Soil depletion   Erosion
                  Intensive agricultural system
                  Others: Labor shortage; Inappropriate technologies and agricultural practices (e.g., no
                              fallow; no green manure or organic manure)
erosion and the causes of expanding these activities in China. They include deforestation,
destruction of grassland, agricultural expansion and intensification, urbanization, and
industrialization (Table 15).

Deforestation. The deforestation led soil erosion is well documented in the literature. The
deforestation in China are caused by many factors such as higher population growth, higher demand
for limber and fuel wood, factors related to agricultural expansion, and insecurity of forest land
tenure system (Qiao, Huang and Rozelle, 1998). Most of these factors are directly or indirectly
linkage with income or the extent of poverty in the local levels. For example, In the hill areas of
Loess Plateau, the densely populated valley-dwellers (most are poor farmers) throughout history and
increasingly in recent years have encroached on the easily erodible hills, harvesting trees and brush
for fuel, and pushing agricultural activities up off the valley floor (CAS, 1992). Once the hillside
has its natural protective covering removed or the deforestation occurred, unless properly designed
and carefully managed, rainfall causes further breakdown of the poor soil base. Even commonly
used techniques of erosion control, such as terracing, can lead to significant, long-term soil and
fertility losses and strong economic consequences (World Bank, 1992; CAS, 1992).

     Population growth and rising demand for agricultural product may be not necessary leading to
deforestation and therefore soil erosion if agricultural productivity enhanced investment and
productivity grow sufficiently to off-set demand side pressure. However, in the poor area, supply-
side pressure for agricultural expansion often lead to an encroachment of cropping activities on
forest resource land because of the limit capacity in investment in agricultural infrastructure and
technology. Faulty land tenure arrangements also have provided incentives to individuals to mine
the forests for short run gains to the ultimate detriment of society in the poor areas (Qiao, Huang
and Rozelle, 1998).

Destruction of grassland. In addition to those factors that link with poverty and cause grassland
destruction, overgrazing and improper management of grassland resulted from insecure grassland
tenure arrangement seems to be a key factor that causes grassland destruction (CAS, 1992). The
grain-first, self-sufficiency policies of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in
massive reclamation efforts that turned millions of hectares of pastureable area into cultivated farm
land (Rozelle and Jiang, 1995). Poor livestock management practices and insecurity land tenure
system after reform initiated in the late 1970s have contributed a decline in useful pasture areas
(Findlay, 1992). Overgrazing has also been becoming increasingly notable feature of China's
grasslands, over the past four decades. China's sheep population grew from 170 million in 1978 to
256 million in 1997 (SSB, 1999). Part of the reason for this expansion is related to the changes in
land tenure arrangements, which on the one hand provides individuals with an incentive to expand
their herds for increasing their household's profit. On the other hand, it has been observed there is a
tendency to abuse the land in the short run due to factors related to the private use of collective
resources (Liu, Findlay and Watson, 1992).

Agricultural expansion. Population growth and rising demand for agricultural products are the
most frequently cited as the major factors driving agricultural expansion in the rural area, particular
in the poor area. However, few empirical studies have focused on other factors that might also have
strong impacts on agricultural expansion except for Qiao, Huang and Rozelle (1998). In this study,
they found insecure land tenure, the poor irrigation, lack of agricultural infrastructure development
due to low investment in agriculture, poverty, and government grain policy (i.e., grain procurement
and local food self-sufficiency policies), in addition to population pressure, are the most important
determinants of agricultural expansion and deforestation in tropic forest region (most located in
Southwest China, a major poor area in China), a region suffered from the most rapid growth of
eroded land areas (Table 6).

      Expansion of agricultural land is also significant in the Loess Plateau region, SAWG shows
that the rising population (with restriction on regional migration), the percentage of food production
on the Loess Plateau depends on the slope farmland reached as high as 50% by the early 1990s
(SAWG, 1999). In the loess hilly region, per capita cultivated slope farmland were 0.33-1.3 hectare
and has shown an increasing trend over time (SAWG, 1999).

Urbanization and industrialization. China has experienced a rapid urbanization and
industrialization since the early 1980s. The share of urban in the total population increased from
less than 18% in 1978 to about 30% in 1998 (SSB, 1999). The share of industry and service sectors
in the total GDP increased from 72% to 82%. The real GDP has been growing at an annual rate of
about 9% over the same period. Urbanization and industrialization causes erosion is mainly through
its occupation of agricultural land, the later leads the intensification of remaining agricultural land
and bringing marginal land under intense cultivation.

Institutional and policy weakness. Law, regulation, institutional setting such as enforcement and
incentive to implementation and policies could play vital roles in anti land degradation. Although
laws are vague in China, lack of mechanisms to facilitate implementation and lack of cooperative
from the local community and farmers are key issues related to erosion problem as they have
impacts on deforestation, destruction of grassland, and agricultural expansion in the sloped land
areas. A summary of institutional and policies that have impacts on water and soil erosion are
provided in Table 15.

Geography, human activities and soil erosion problem. Because various human activities that
cause soil erosion linkage together and regional distribution of soil erosion largely reflect the local
geographical features, a rigor analysis of determinants of soil erosion is difficult. However, to have
a better understanding of how human activities and geographical features associate with soil erosion
in China, we develop a simple model that tries to explain how erosion change over time and across
The estimated parameters of the model are:

Ln (Ero) = 0.358 Hill + 0.061 Mountain + 0.284 Ln(Land)
           (78.3)**       (60.0)**          (10.47)**

           - [0.266 – 0.003 d800-1000 – 0.029 d1000-1500 – 0.024 d >1500] Ln(Income) + 0.027 Year
             (-2.56)** (0.43)                (3.36)**          (1.83)*                    (7.19)**

           + [provincial dummies, not presented here]

  It should be noted that we use "associate with" and "understand" instead of "determine" because the model
developed here is too simple to explain the changes in erosion, and while poverty can cause erosion through
deforestation, grassland destruction, agricultural expansion, and so on, the erosion (left-hand side variable) can
also cause poverty problem.

R2 = 0.992           N=476 (28 provinces x 17 years, 1980-96)

     Where, Ln(Ero), Ln(Income) and Ln(Land) are erosion area, per capita income in rural area,
and total land area in logarithmic forms , respectively. d800-1000, d1000-1500, and d >1500 are dummy
variables for per capita annual net income levels fall in 800-1000 yuan, 1000-1500 yuan and 1500
yuan, respectively (the base group income level is less than 800 yaun). Year is time trend variable.
Plain, Hill, Mountain are the share (%) of plain (or non-hill, non-mountain), hill, and mountain
areas in the total land (adding to 100, with flat as a base in the regression). The figures in the
parentheses are t-value; * and ** are 10% and 1% statistically significantly.

    Confirmed to our expectation, after controlled for other impacts, both hill and mountain areas
have higher rates of soil erosion than plain flat area with a much higher rate the hill area. But the
important findings of this simple analysis are the parameters related to income and trend variables.

     After controlled for time trend, geographic and climate impacts (land structure and provincial
dummies), income variable is significantly associated with the erosion areas. For the poorest area
(with annual per capita net income less than 800 yuan at 1995 price), a 10% increase in income is
associated with 2.66% decline in the erosion areas. While there is no statistically significant
difference of income parameters between the poorest and the poor areas (for income less than 1000
yaun), the parameters are found to have statistically significant difference for those areas with per
capita income higher than 1000 yuan. Although the difference is only about 0.03 (or 3%). This
indicates that anti-poverty has two implications: rising income reduces erosion area and reduces the
erosion at a higher rate in the poor area than that in the rich areas. Because the poor area (normally
in remote, hill and mountain areas) is associated with higher soil erosion, a same percentage decline
in erosion area due to income growth can lead to a much large reduction in the total erosion areas.

    The analysis also reveal that despite great effort has been put on conservation of soil erosion by
government, after controlled for other factors' impacts, the erosion area has been growing at 2.7%
annually. This may explain a combined impact of population growth, agricultural expansion,
urbanization, industrialization and other trend related variables on soil erosion.

Land Salinization

     The salinization areas located most in irrigated areas in North China Plain and Xinjiang.
Salinization of farm land can cause significant falls in the productivity of the land. It is also one of
the sources of the decline in cultivated land. Salinization is most typically associated with rapid
expansion of irrigation and poor constructed irrigation systems. The problem can come from either
side of the hydrological balance sheet--either inadequate application of water or insufficient
drainage, and from improper farming cropping system. Some policies that have caused the rising
salinized land areas are the policies related to water use right and water pricing, investment in
irrigation and drainage system, and food security policy.

      While there is no data to show how land salinization associated with the improper irrigation
system, Table 13 shows that salinized land areas strongly link with the irrigation expansion, with
0.75 of correlation coefficient. A simple regression of salinized land on irrigated land area shows
that the increase (this should not interpreted as impact) of salinized areas associated with a marginal
increase of irrigation areas is 0.09, or "elasticity" of salinized land with respect to irrigation area is

  Regressions of salinized land area (Y) on irrigation area (X) based on national level data (areas are in 1000
hectares) from 1973 to 1996 obtain the following results:
       Y       =     3386 +         0.088 X
                     (4.45)         (5.26)          R2 = 0.56

IV. Government Efforts

The Government Effort in Rectifying Soil Erosion

     Recognizing the seriousness of soil erosion problems in recent years, China's leaders have
begun organizing a national effort to rectify soil erosion. Anti-erosion efforts include afforestation
programs, improved pasture management schemes, terracing projects, silt dam construction, and
policies that encourage removal of fragile land from cultivation.

     In 1973, erosion control efforts were undertaken on 350.900 km2 of China's land, only about
29.8% of the total eroded area (Table 16). Since then, the total area, where erosion control projects
are implemented, have increased by 2.7% per year. Although total eroded area also increased until
recently, environmental leaders appeared to be making continuous progress. By 1990, erosion
control efforts were undertaken on 39% of China's eroded area and reached the highest level in 1995
(41%, Table 16).

Table 16. Efforts in taking to conserve and control water eroded areas in China, 1973-1997.
                    Water eroded land area         Area with water              Percentage of
                           (000 km2)            erosion control project    eroded area with control
Year                           (1)                    (1000 km2)                 project (%)
                                                          (2)                  (3)=(2)/(1)*100
1973                            1176.50                          350.90                            29.8
1974                            1165.19                          384.23                            33.0
1975                            1196.30                          407.57                            34.1
1976                            1192.02                          406.50                            34.1
1977                            1187.74                          405.42                            34.1
1978                            1183.46                          404.35                            34.2
1979                            1181.72                          406.06                            34.4
1980                            1183.04                          411.52                            34.8
1981                            1203.33                          416.47                            34.6
1982                            1208.97                          414.12                            34.3
1983                            1203.43                          424.05                            35.2
1984                            1210.37                          446.23                            36.9
1985                            1292.23                          463.93                            35.9
1986                            1310.77                          479.09                            36.5
1987                            1320.18                          495.27                            37.5
1988                            1338.06                          513.49                            38.4
1989                            1348.30                          521.54                            38.7
1990                            1364.00                          529.71                            38.8
1991                            1623.02                          558.38                            34.4
1992                            1626.21                          586.35                            36.1
1993                            1630.40                          612.53                            37.6

       Ln(Y) =        2.97 +         0.554 Ln (X)
                      (2.70)         (5.40)       R2 = 0.57

where, the figures in the parentheses are t-values. It should be noted that the statistical relationship provided in
this exercise is for illustration purpose only, not necessary linking with the "causality".

1994                         1630.45                       640.80                      39.3
1995                         1630.47                       668.55                      41.0
1996                         1826.64                       693.21                      38.0
1997                                                       722.42
Source: Ministry of Water Resource, various issues.

     A similar effort appeared in every region across China. The largest control effort in terms of
both increasing the ratio of eroded land with control projects and total eroded area has been in the
Extended Loess Plateau (from 21% to about 40%) and Northeast (from 34.3% to 49.7%) since the
mid-1970s (the last column of Table 17). A substantial decline in Southwest, as we explained
earlier, could be due to both the eroded area statistical adjustments in 1991 and less progress made
in this region. For South and North China, the increasing effort in controlling has kept the growth
in the similar pace of the erosion growth.

     However, despite great effort taken in the past, the total eroded land has been keeping up, and
the increase in total eroded land is more than the rise in the area with anti-erosion control projects.
Prevention has not been a priority until recently when a historical high flood disaster attached
Yangze river basin in 1998
Table 17. Annual eroded land area with conservation control efforts by region, 1975-96.
                                Year                   Eroded land with        Percentage of eroded
                                                    conservation program land with conservation
                                                            (000ha)                  programs
Northeast                      1975-79                       5551                      34.3
                               1980-84                       5643                      42.4
                               1985-89                       6748                      50.1
                               1990-94                       8053                      56.8
                               1995-96                       9206                      49.7
Extended Loess Plateau         1975-79                       13410                     21.0
                               1980-84                       15183                     22.9
                               1985-89                       21027                     29.7
                               1990-94                       24998                     35.4
                               1995-96                       28535                     39.9
Mid-low Yangtze                1975-79                        8928                     63.2
                               1980-84                        8873                     55.8
                               1985-89                        8706                     43.9
                               1990-94                       10356                     47.6
                               1995-96                       11544                     51.6
South                          1975-79                        1845                     64.5
                               1980-84                        1850                     61.2
                               1985-89                        1959                     45.9
                               1990-94                        2604                     55.2
                               1995-96                        3008                     59.9
Southwest                      1975-79                        3302                     31.4
                               1980-84                        3683                     36.5
                               1985-89                        3832                     34.3
                               1990-94                        5486                     17.0

                                 1995-96                    7754                       18.3
North                            1975-79                    6998                       61.7
                                 1980-84                    6989                       60.6
                                 1985-89                    7300                       60.9
                                 1990-94                    7281                       57.3
                                 1995-96                    8005                       62.0
Xinjiang                         1975-79                      17                       23.2
                                 1980-84                      26                       30.4
                                 1985-89                      29                       34.1
                                 1990-94                      34                       32.7
                                 1995-96                      36                       28.7

Note: See Table 14 for detail.

The Government Effort in Rectifying Salinization Problem

    Government has developed varieties of programs that aim at controlling salinization problem in
major salinized regions. These include improvement in irrigation and drainage system, irrigation
management, cropping pattern and management.

     Salinized cultivated land with various anti-salinization and controlling projects were 3.23
million hectares in 1973 (Table 18). This implied that the effort taken by government and farmers to
anti-salinization problem covered nearly half (47.8%) of the total salinized land areas in the year.
The area with salinization control projects has increased at an annual rate of 1.9% in 1973-97, a
growth rate much higher than the growth rate of salinized land (0.54%) in the same period. By the
mid-1990s, the total land area with salinization control efforts were undertaken on about 70% of
China's total salinized area (Table 18).

Table 18. Efforts in taking to conserve and control salinized cultivated land area in China,
                       Salinized cultivated   Salinized cultivated land          Percentage of
                               land                      with             salinized area with control
Year                         (000 ha)              control projects                 project
                                (1)                    (000 ha)                       (%)
                                                          (2)                   (3)=(2)/(1)*100
1973                          6754.0                    3226.0                        47.8
1974                          6705.3                    3652.7                        54.5
1975                          6970.3                    3762.3                        54.0
1976                          7062.0                    3885.3                        55.0
1977                          7153.7                    4008.3                        56.0
1978                          7245.3                    4131.3                        57.0
1979                          7302.0                    4132.0                        56.6
1980                          7145.3                    4236.0                        59.3
1981                          7243.3                    4262.7                        58.8
1982                          7243.3                    4265.3                        58.9
1983                          7357.3                    4391.3                        59.7

1984                         7331.3                    4474.0                       61.0
1985                        7692.67                    4569.3                       59.4
1986                         7606.7                    4623.3                       60.8
1987                         7636.0                    4755.3                       62.3
1988                         7672.0                    4830.0                       63.0
1989                         7535.5                    4883.0                       64.8
1990                         7539.0                    4995.0                       66.3
1991                         7614.0                    5110.0                       67.1
1992                         7660.3                    5209.0                       68.0
1993                         7655.8                    5304.6                       69.3
1994                         7655.8                    5350.8                       69.9
1995                         7655.8                    5433.9                       71.0
1996                         7724.8                    5513.2                       71.4
1997                                                   5612.3

Source: Ministry of Water Resource.

     The regions with larger salinization problem are generally associated with the greater effort
taken to eliminate the problem. For example, North China where the land suffered serious from
salinization, the areas under the control projects reached 1.93 million hectares in 1995-96, or 82.5%
of salinized land were treated with certain kind of prevention measures (Table 19). Xinjiang, one of
the largest salinized land areas, percentage of salinized land with control or conservation projects
reached 68.2% in 1995-96, nearly 30% higher than the level achieved in the late 1970s. Less
progress is also observed for the extended Loess Plateau (Henan, Shaxi, et al.) region and three
provinces in Northeast China (Table 19).
Table 19. Annual salinized land with conservation control program by region, 1975-96.
                              Year            Salinized area with   Percentage of salinized land
                                            conservation program with conservation programs
                                                    (000ha)                     (%)
Northeast                    1975-79                  573                       46.0
                             1980-84                  597                       50.5
                             1985-89                  603                       49.3
                             1990-94                  629                       51.3
                             1995-96                  645                       52.6
Extended Loess Plateau       1975-79                  941                       55.9
                             1980-84                 1118                       58.9
                             1985-89                 1197                       61.2
                             1990-94                 1302                       66.2
                             1995-96                 1360                       68.6
Mid-low Yangtze              1975-79                  577                       74.3
                             1980-84                  703                       82.2
                             1985-89                  719                       83.0
                             1990-94                  770                       87.0
                             1995-96                  793                       89.7
South                        1975-79                   10                        3.8
                             1980-84                   31                       10.7
                             1985-89                   59                       18.4
                             1990-94                  102                       31.8

                                 1995-96                116                         34.9
Southwest                        1975-79                 2                          55.2
                                 1980-84                 3                          47.0
                                 1985-89                 6                          51.0
                                 1990-94                 4                          51.9
                                 1995-96                 4                          49.7
North                            1975-79               1474                         61.1
                                 1980-84               1477                         65.2
                                 1985-89               1699                         75.1
                                 1990-94               1841                         79.3
                                 1995-96               1926                         82.5
Xinjiang                         1975-79                384                         38.4
                                 1980-84                413                         40.3
                                 1985-89                453                         45.5
                                 1990-94                547                         61.2
                                 1995-96                629                         68.2

Note: See Table 14 for detail.
      Comparing the progresses that were made in anti-erosion and salinization, government effort in
controlling salinization problem is more successful than erosion problem. This might be due to the
fact that the linkage of anti-salinization projects and farmer’s agricultural production is more
directly than the case for soil erosion, the later has more external aspects of environmental
consequence that is not fully linkage with the farmer who creates or controls the erosion, and the
fact that the technologies for anti-salinization are well-known, available and simple for farmers.

Experiences and Lessons

   Anti-Poverty Policy: Poverty is strongly associated with deforestation, agricultural expansion
    and other activities that cause soil erosion. Both central and local governments are committed to
    poverty alleviation. Since the economic reform initiated in the late 1970s, China has made
    remarkable progress in its war on poverty. In the two decades since then, more than 200 million
    Chinese rural residents have escaped poverty, the absolute level of poverty has fallen from 260
    million in 1978 to less than 42 million in 1998. The incidence of rural poverty has fallen
    equally fast, plunging from 32.9 percent in 1978 to less than 5 percent in 1998. However, the
    adequacy of financial resources for the poor area fund is the challenge in China’s poverty
    alleviation. With increasing concentration of the poor in the more remote areas, the progress has
    slowed over the past ten years.
   Population control: China's population policy strongly influences its development and pressure
    on the environment. How effectively the country is able to meet its population control goal will
    profoundly affect China's ability to meet its economic and environmental sustainability goals.
    Strict and successful population control is therefore seen as a prerequisite for long term
    sustainability in China's rural economy.
   Public investment in agriculture: while government expenditure and investment has increasing
    over time, their shares to agricultural GDP has shown a declining trend since reform started
    (Huang, 1999). Moreover, new institutional arrangement has not provided the incentive for
    investment in agriculture for both public and private sector. Declining public agricultural
    expenditures attracted attention to agricultural production sustainability and productivity growth,
    pressure on expansion of agriculture -- bringing new marginal and fragile land to cultivation and
    intensifying agricultural land, and future domestic food supply problems. Investment policy
    reviews led to increased investment in the mid-1990s. Both the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-

    2000) and China’s Long Term Plan To 2010 advocate increased public agricultural investment,
    including investments in rural infrastructure and loans and credits for agricultural production.
    Irrigation, water control and soil conservation are the top priorities of future government
    investment. However, due to the weaknesses of the fiscal system, the new policy to increase
    public investment in agriculture has been hardly implemented. There are many policies and
    regulations that have been promulgated regarded the provision of a minimum level of
    agricultural and public goods, but there is no budget to back them up. Without sufficient
    budgets or staffs, policies can not be effectively carried out.
   Technology development policies: After the 1960s, China’s research institutions grew
    rapidly, from almost none in the 1950s, producing a steady flow of new varieties and
    other technologies, and have been major sources of agricultural growth, farmer’s income,
    and contributed to land conservation. However, fiscal constraint has limited China’s
    ability to invest more on agricultural research and extension since mid-1980s. China's
    agricultural research and extension intensity is one of the lowest in the world (Huang
    and Hu, 1998). Pressures of agriculture expanding to the marginal and fragile land rise
    with population growth in rural area, particular in the poor area.
   Land tenure policy: China initiated rural economic land reform in 1978. Production
    teams distributed agricultural land among households depending on family size or a
    combination of family size and labor, but ownership remained collective. However,
    insecure land tenure system continues to be one of the major causes of land degradation
   In the measures to control erosion problem, the government efforts have been focused on
    terracing, dam building, regulations, and direct investment (both capital and rural labor). Weak
    enforcement, increasing fiscal and financial difficult in both central and local government, and
    rising wage in rural areas have made the implementation system much weaker or less efficient
    over time.
   Because land degradation especially soil erosion is caused by many factors directly and
    indirectly, successful policies and land conservation programs require a more comprehensive,
    integrated rural development approach. Currently, there are numerous rural development
    programs undertaken by both central and local governments, various ministries and department,
    public and private, domestic and international organizations. However, the coordination among
    these programs is weak or non-existing.

     Recently, Chinese government announced a long-term ecological and environmental
development (or construction) plan (see Appendix A). Some new elements on measures and
strategies that are emphasized in the Plan are:

1) environmental development indicators related to the targets will be incorporated into the annual
evaluation of local leaders’ performance (currently, the evaluation is mainly based on economic

2) strengthening the enforcement of law and regulation (but not clear how to do this without
increasing human capital and changes in institutional setting);

3) emphasize S&T, integrated use of engineering, biological and agronomic methods (but not sure
whether there is budget to support S&T, or there is no indications of how the budget will be raised);

4) emphasize using economic incentive to implement the environmental protection policies;

5) set-aside of steep slope land program in the poor areas (started last year already with about 150
kg grain subsidy per mu).

     Our general comment on the Plan is the targets or objectives are too ambitious to implement.
Few strategies or policies are made without considering the availability of budget. It seems to me
there is no clear linkage between the ministry (Ministry of Forest) that prepare the development
plan and the ministries that make financial decisions. The year of 2003 is only three years from
now, but we are FAR away from reaching the goal set for the year.

V. Concluding Remarks and Suggestions

      The previous sections show that real increases in land degradation have occurred in the post-
reform period. While a number of policies have been developed to combat the problems, existing
measures routinely are not enforced and their implementation often flies in the face of ambitious
production and economic growth targets. Many provinces, particularly those on the periphery, are
facing severe land constraints as a result of growing populations, food insecurity (or rural poverty),
increased demand for agricultural and forest products, and expansion of non-agricultural use of land.
In many areas, the use of marginal land for crop production is vital to meet subsistence grain
requirements and grain procurement policy. Higher-quality land is being cropped more intensively
to meet the demand for cash crops as well as to meet high production quotas. Researchers agree
that, over time, environmental problems are multiplying in China and the areas affected by them are
increasing as well (CAS, 1992; SAWG, 1999).

     While further measures must be taken to protest and restore China's arable land stocks, it is
difficult to introduce such proposals given current economic conditions and fiscal constraints. With
national development strategy moves to Central-Western Regions (CWR), called Great Western
Development Program (WDP), China will face two additional challenges in environmental
protection, including land conservation. First, allocating a huge amount of fiscal budget to WDP
implies that the remaining budget for the public investment in the rest of China (including those
areas suffering serious erosion and salinity, i.e. North China Plain and most of the Red Soil areas in
South of Yangze river) has to be reduced. Second, WDP is proposed to stimulate local energy and
resource development. If the economic development in CWR could not accompany with effective
environment protection measures, the economic growth based on the local resource development
would result in more serious ecological and land degradation problems.

     Having reviewed the trend, distribution, causes of land degradation, and policies and efforts
that have been taken in China, the question must now be raised: what challenges will China be
facing in as it tries to pursue its goals or targets set for the next 10-50 years?

     There is little doubt that the major sources of land degradation—population, poverty,
agricultural expansion, production practices, industrialization and urbanization--will continue to
press serious problems on land degradation over the foreseeable future. China's population will
continue to grow. The nation's population level will not level off until after 2030 (and at
approximately 1.6 billion). Moreover, it is also likely that these same demographic trends will lead
to an increasing number of people designated as poor in the remote area. With limited resources
available to devote to poverty alleviation, some researchers forecast that the number of those in
persistent poverty will not begin to decline in the near future without a major intervention effort.
Modernization goals will still be given priority. The high demands that are already being put on the
rural environment will only become greater. Moreover, food security will continuously be the
central goal of China’s agricultural policies in the future.
     China has already made several attempts to deal with the challenges of simultaneously trying to
grow while sustaining its rural resource base. The problems are very complex. Solutions can only
occur when there are many intricate linkages in place that can balance the demands of development
and the sensitivities of environmental protection. There are still multiple constraints that make
solutions to the multi-dimensioned sustainability problem difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, due to
its commitment to pursue environmental protection in general and land conservation in the

particular, China faces a number of uncertain. There are a number of issues that needed to be
answered. How much government intervention is needed to pursuing its water and erosion
conservation and anti-salinization goals? Who should bear the burden of financing the direct and
indirect costs of implementing the strategies and measures that are shown in the national ecological
and environmental development plan? Can current institutional setting be able to implement the
strategies? How China can achieve its land conservation goals and what is the most effective
approach that can mobilize the limited fiscal and financial resources to anti-land degradation?


     While the analyses in this paper can not provide the answers to the above questions, a few
policy implications might be drawn from previous sections.

   Goals. The development goals or targets are important for a nation in making its plan for the
    future. However, an attainable goal always prefers to the ambitious one. The attainable goals
    require both financial and technical feasible. A meaningful plan and feasible (or conductive)
    policies should be prepared jointly by various ministries (i.e., forest, environment, agriculture,
    science & technology, finance, and so on) and other relevant government organization such and
    State Economic Development and Planning Commission, SEPA, Leading Group for the
    Economic Development of Poor Area, and others. Coordination is important not only in the
    implementation, but also in the plan and setting the goals.

   Strategy. A multi-sectoral, comprehensive and integrated development approach prefers to the
    piece by piece, project based, ministry divided approach. Land degradations are caused by
    many factors directly and indirectly. Effective use of limited resources require a strong
    coordination of various rural development program and active participation of different
    functional department, stakeholders, local leaders and household farmers.

   Institutional setting. Need a new setting for the multi-sectoral approach, leadership system,
    integrated management among provinces, regions, ministries, government and farmers.

   Investment. Direct land conservation program contributed to anti-land degradation, indirect
    investments in agricultural productivity enhanced growth, poverty alleviation, population
    control, and all others that contributes to local economic growth or labor migration (income) are
    the long term or one forever solution for land degradation problems. More investment in rural
    development in general and land conservation in particular is badly required. China should
    recognize soil erosion (after controlled for economic growth and geographic nature) has been
    keeping a growth rate of nearly 3% annually during 1973-96.

   Among various policies or measures, economic growth and poverty alleviation are key factors
    contributing to land improvement and should be emphasized and incorporated into the land
    conservation program, vice versa. Poverty leads to deforestation, agricultural expansion,
    grassland destruction, and therefore land degradation. The land degradation in turn affects the

   Enforcement of law, regulations and policies. China has developed various laws, regulations
    related to ecological and environmental problems since 1980s. But the laws, regulations and
    policies are normally either too broad (too general) or too ambitious to implement. On the other
    hand, both institutional arrangements and human capital should be development in order to
    strengthen and enforce the implementation of law and regulation.

   Secure land (farm, forest and grassland) tenure system. Improving land property rights to
    encourage farmers to invest on land and to improve the rational use and conservation of nature

    resources are important for the anti-land degradation program to be implemented at the local

   Improving the client and market focus of agricultural R&D and extension services. Some of the
    examples may include undertaken innovative applied research on sustainable soil and crop
    management technologies, assessing thoroughly the comparative advantage of local products
    before encouraging farmers to change their cropping systems.


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Appendix A. Ecological and Environmental Development Plan: Some land related elements
or Target:

1) 1999-2003, eroded land with conservation/control projects should be increased by 300 thousand
    km2, bringing new 9.6 million hectares of desert area under control, increasing forest area by
    25 million hectares with more than 17.6% of forest coverage rate, restructuring (terracing) 3
    million hectares slope land, set-aside of 3 million hectares steep slope land out of arable
    farming, increasing agricultural land with shelter belt forest by 6 million hectares, rising
    plantation and improvement of grassland by 20 million hectares.

2) 1999-2010, eliminate human activity induced new eroded land, eroded land with
    conservation/control projects be increased by 600 thousand km2, bringing new 22 million
    hectares of desert area under control, increasing forest area by 39 million hectares with more
    than 19% of forest coverage rate, restructuring (terracing) slope land 6.7 million hectares, set-
    aside of steep slope land out of arable farming 5 million hectares, increasing agricultural land
    with shelterbelt forest by 13 million hectares, increasing plantation and improvement of
    grassland by 50 million hectares.

3) 2011-2030, more than 60% of eroded land treated with control projects, bringing new 40 million
    hectares of desert area under control, increasing forest coverage rate to more than 24%,
    increasing plantation and improvement of grassland by 80 million hectares.

4)   2031-2050, nearly all eroded land treated with control projects, increasing forest coverage rate
     to more than 26%.

Appendix Table 1. The area deficient in micronutrients and wiht application of micronutrients.
                 Critical value          Area below             Critical value            Area with the
                 of deficiency          critical value           (occupied              application in 1993
                    (mg/kg)              (million ha)              area %)                 (million ha)
Zn                   0.5                    48.6                    51.1                        9.7
B                    0.5                    32.8                    34.5                        5.9
MO                   0.15                   44.5                    46.8                        1.0
Mn                   5.0                    20.3                    21.3                        0.3
Cu                   0.2                    6.5                      6.9                         --
Fe                   4.5                    4.7                      5.0                         --
Others                 --                     --                       --                        0.5
Total                                       157.5                                               17.4

Source: Gong, 1999.

Appendix Table 2. Average soil characteristics on ever-cultivated lands in China since the late
                                     1930s                   1950s                 1980s
Organic matter(%)
North China                           1.48                     1.43                 1.13
Chang Jiang plain                     1.90                     2.40                 2.31
South China                                                    2.14                 2.72
Total nitrogen (%)
North China                          0.080                    0.088                0.073
Chang Jiang plain                                             0.185                0.135
South China                                                   0.141                0.148
Total phosphorus (%)
North China                          0.043                    0.050                0.048
Chang Jiang plain                    0.040                    0.048                0.050
South China                                                   0.056                0.052
Total potassium (%)
North China                          1.260                    1.730                1.900
Chang Jiang plain                    0.979                                         1.721
South China                                                   0.586                1.052
Northwest China                      0.261                    0.484                0.292
Chang Jiang plain                    0.331                    0.248                0.424
South China                          1.016                    0.342                0.558
Notes: Alkalinity is defined as max (pH – 8,0) and acidity is defined as max (6 - pH,0) for each individual soil
profile. 6 and 8 to lower the overall measure of alkalinity or acidity. the regions are defined as follows: North
China = the sample-size-weighted average of the averages for the spring wheat region, the winter wheat-millet
region, and the Haung-Hai plain as mapped in Buck (1937, p. 27) and in Lindert, Lu, and Wu (1966). Chang
Jiang plain (Yangtse plain ) = the simple average of the Yangtze rice-wheat area and the rice-tea area, as
mapped in the same sources. The Sichuan basin is excluded from the averages shown here. South China = the
simple average of the southwestern rice area and the double-cropping rice area, as mapped in the same

Appendix Table 3. Water eroded area, salinized area, and areas (000 hectare) with conservation
control programs by region in China, 1975-97.
                                         Area with                With controlling program in
Region        Year             Water eroded    Salinized land       Eroded         Salinized
                                   land                            land area       land area
Northeast     1975                17110             1311              5927            522
              1976                16981             1293              5741            555
              1977                16853             1275              5555            589
              1978                16724             1257              5369            623
              1979                13269             1102              5163            577
              1980                13299             1106              5328            589
              1981                13299             1193              5461            593
              1982                13299             1193              5583            600
              1983                13299             1197              5825            604
              1984                13299             1220              6019            597
              1985                13299             1219              6319            601
              1986                13299             1223              6661            603
              1987                13299             1223              6828            604
              1988                13655             1223              6980            589
              1989                13793             1226              6953            618
              1990                13932             1222              6925            626
              1991                14221             1225              7936            628
              1992                14235             1238              8218            630
              1993                14244             1226              8478            631
              1994                14248             1226              8707            631
              1995                14248             1226              9029            642
              1996                22766             1226              9383            647
              1997                                                                    662
Loess Plateau 1975                63420             1514             13493            815
              1976                63248             1591             13416            877
              1977                63076             1667             13338            938
              1978                62904             1743             13261           1000
              1979                66236             1911             13543           1077
              1980                66227             1920             14102           1094
              1981                66102             1872             14438           1098
              1982                66281             1872             14449           1127
              1983                66295             1917             15555           1130
              1984                66307             1918             17371           1142
              1985                70868             1985             19119           1160
              1986                71363             1925             20109           1173
              1987                71365             1956             21048           1196
              1988                71369             1959             22003           1220
              1989                69519             1962             22854           1235
              1990                67670             1952             23768           1262
              1991                71389             1971             23494           1295
              1992                71372             1968             24727           1301
              1993                71377             1965             25940           1318
              1994                71377             1974             27060           1333
              1995                71377             1974             28152           1347
              1996                71677             1990             28919           1374
              1997                                                                   1392

Appendix Table 4. Water eroded area, salinized area, and areas (000 hectare) with conservation
control programs by region in China, 1975-97. (Continued…)
                                          Area with               With controlling program in
Region              Year       Water eroded land Salinized land     Eroded         Salinized
                                                                   land area       land area
Mid-low Yangtze 1975                 13310            711             8485            543
                    1976             13755            741             8721            549
                    1977             14200            772             8957            554
                    1978             14645            803             9193            559
                    1979             14686            853             9283            678
                    1980             14797            865             9127            697
                    1981             16718            857             9285            682
                    1982             16832            857             8978            707
                    1983             15535            869             8396            727
                    1984             15659            826             8576            701
                    1985             18823            858             8374            699
                    1986             19249            858             8346            701
                    1987             19417            850             8563            713
                    1988             20717            885             8942            735
                    1989             20909            879             9306            745
                    1990             20954            881             9550            754
                    1991             21820            889            10057            761
                    1992             22038            888            10423            770
                    1993             22040            884            10684            778
                    1994             22040            884            11067            787
                    1995             22040            884            11370            792
                    1996             22737            885            11719            794
                    1997                                                              801
South               1975             3210             256             1893              3
                    1976             3011             258             1865              7
                    1977             2812             259             1838             11
                    1978             2613             261             1810             15
                    1979             2665             266             1820             15
                    1980             2637             277             1836             21
                    1981             2623             283             1837             26
                    1982             2723             287             1832             31
                    1983             3374             299             1849             37
                    1984             3751             304             1897             41
                    1985             3896             309             1781             47
                    1986             4011             316             1805             53
                    1987             4395             323             1943             58
                    1988             4507             323             2095             63
                    1989             4537             325             2173             73
                    1990             4631             330             2254             88
                    1991             4657             308             2507             92
                    1992             4749             310             2621            105
                    1993             4764             329             2756            112
                    1994             4764             329             2880            114
                    1995             4766             329             2961            116
                    1996             5275             337             3056            117
                    1997                                                              119

Appendix Table 5. Water eroded area, salinized area, and areas (000 hectare) with conservation
control programs by region in China, 1975-97. (Continued…)
                             Area with                           With controlling program in
Region          Year          Water eroded land Salinized land      Eroded          Salinized
                                                                   land area        land area
Southwest       1975                11264               3            4159               2
                1976                10859               3            2555               2
                1977                10454               4            2561               2
                1978                10049               5            3716               3
                1979                 9898               5            3519               3
                1980                 9934               5            3684               3
                1981                10146               6            3629               2
                1982                10151               6            3687               3
                1983                10151               7            3721               3
                1984                10063              10            3695               5
                1985                10270              11            3690               5
                1986                11071              11            3756               6
                1987                11487              12            3836               6
                1988                11501              12            3903               6
                1989                11516              13            3978               7
                1990                11531              14            4053               8
                1991                37192               6            5016               3
                1992                37225               5            5567               3
                1993                37612               8            6044               4
                1994                37612               8            6748               4
                1995                37612               8            7409               4
                1996                47194               9            8099               4
                1997                                                                    4
North           1975                11316             2403           6801             1605
                1976                11325             2408           6890             1539
                1977                11335             2413           6979             1473
                1978                11344             2417           7068             1407
                1979                11363             2410           7255             1347
                1980                11325             2223           7047             1407
                1981                11355             2273           6968             1431
                1982                11529             2273           6856             1444
                1983                11597             2272           7035             1498
                1984                11874             2275           7039             1603
                1985                11982             2268           7083             1643
                1986                11998             2265           7203             1666
                1987                11968             2263           7280             1706
                1988                11971             2260           7396             1727
                1989                11972             2258           7539             1753
                1990                11972             2261           7683             1791
                1991                12884             2337           6775             1818
                1992                12896             2337           7046             1845
                1993                12896             2337           7316             1867
                1994                12896             2337           7583             1883
                1995                12896             2337           7901             1914
                1996                12908             2335           8109             1938
                1997                                                                  1956
Note: See footnote of Table 14.