Helping Re-Vegetate China's Loess Plateau

Article excerpt

ACIAR (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research), CSIRO Land and Water, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, have developed a joint collaborative project and special Decision Support Tool to raise awareness amongst China's many land and water managers about re-vegetation techniques and the impact that national environmental policy will have on their limited water resources.

In addition to building both Australia's and China's understanding of the impacts of large-scale re-vegetation on broad scale hydrology, the international project is helping to restore the quality of flows to China's Yellow River and improve the sustainable management of the region.

The Yellow River Basin is an area compatible in size to Australia's Murray-Darling Basin, but with 400 million people partly relying on its water assets it faces far greater demands on its resources.

Deforestation over thousands of years, steep slopes, and highly erodible soils combined with intense summer monsoon rainfall has seen an incredible amount of soil erosion from the Loess Plateau, located on the middle reaches of the Yellow River. Scientific research has revealed that replanting programs under the Chinese Government's 'Clean River: Green Hills' policy reduces the amount of water available to the community. …