China Imposes Grazing Ban To Restore Grasslands

BEIJING - China has imposed a nationwide grazing ban to help prevent overgrazing and erosion of its grasslands, state media said on Wednesday.
calendar icon 11 April 2007
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A farmer fertilizes the soil in his field on the outskirts of Baokang, central China's Hubei Province, April 9, 2007. More than 10 percent of China's farmland has been polluted, prompting the first soil survey in the country to ensure food safety, China Daily reported.

Grasslands cover nearly 40 percent of China, from the high plateaus of Tibet and Qinghai to the arid reaches of Inner Mongolia. But increased prosperity has allowed herders to raise more cattle, sheep, goats and yak, degrading pastures, while expanding cities have encroached on the best land.

Fencing of pastures and settlement of nomads has also changed migration patterns from winter to summmer grasslands, which traditionally allowed grasslands to recover.

This is the second time China has imposed such a ban, after taking similar measures in April last year. The ban will last for two months in some areas and up to a year in others, the Xinhua news agency said.

China banned grazing on nearly 90 million hectares and forbade 30 million livestock from roaming on grasslands at the end of last year, Xinhua said, citing Wang Zongli, deputy director of the agriculture ministry's animal husbandry department in cashmere producing Ordos, Inner Mongolia.

Source: Reuters

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