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China is building a Great Wall of Trees to fight climate change and the encroaching Gobi Desert

China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, but it is also engaged in a massive tree-planting program that has helped to offset tropical deforestation, and suck some of the climate-changing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

Reforestation efforts in China, combined with regrowth on abandoned farmland in Russia, have helped offset 81% of the loss in above-ground biomass carbon lost to tropical deforestation since 2003, according to a new study in the academic journal Nature Climate Change. 

“The increase in vegetation primarily came from a lucky combination of environmental and economic factors and massive tree-planting projects in China,” said lead study author Yi Liu of Australia’s University of New South Wales. Liu said that the carbon storage in Chinese forests increased by about 0.8 billion tons (0.72 billion tonnes) between 2003 and 2012.

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Monday, April 27, 2015