While China may have an abysmal reputation when it comes to the environment, a recent report from Michigan State University praising China’s efforts to reverse decades of deforestation and environmental destruction has noted that their recent progress has big implications for global climate change and biodiversity. Yay!
Beginning with the Great Leap Forward in the 1950s, China has pushed forward toward industrialization, helping to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty; however, as a direct result, huge swaths of land have been cleared of trees, bringing forth devastating and long-term consequences.
In recent years, deforestation has been linked to multiple serious environmental issues, from Beijing’s smog problem to flooding and food shortages due to soil erosion.
The MSU study is actually the first independent study to confirm China’s efforts and acknowledge them as effective. Banning logging in certain areas and crackdowns on illegal logging operations and other preventative measures has allowed 1.6% of China’s forests to return, which might not sound like much, but if we were to say 61,000 square miles of trees, then that doesn’t sound too shabby, right?
But it’s not all bunnies and rainbows here we’re afraid, it seems that other countries may be offsetting China’s good efforts, with countries in South America and Africa continuing to cut down their forests at an alarming rate.
Still, an improvement is still an improvement, so hopefully China will be the Earth’s climate change savior as Leonardo DiCaprio prophesied. Maybe they’ll do it by building a “Great Wall of Trees?”
And heck we know just the two guys crazy enough to pull it off.
By Kitty Lai