China has successfully halted the expansion of desertification, with the land area of desertification shrinking by an average of 2,424 square kilometers per year, said Forestry & Grassland Authorities.

The National Forestry and Grassland Administration said on Thursday that China has achieved a historic transformation from the increase of desertification to the growth of greenland.

It noted that the area of sandy desert and stony desert in China shrank at an annual average speed of 1,980 and 3,860 square kilometers, respectively.

China is one of the countries with the largest areas of desertification, the largest affected population and suffering the most severe damage caused by sandstorms in the world.

The total area of desertification land in the country is around 2.6 million square kilometers, accounting for 27.2 percent of the country’s total land area, according to statistics. The area of stony desertification in lava areas is 10.07 million hectares.

China has been stepping up efforts in the fight against desertification over the years.

The country carried out desertification prevention work on 10.978 million hectares of land during the 13th Five-Year Plan period from 2016 to 2020, sealing off an additional area of 500,000 hectares of land, setting up 46 protected regions and building 50 National Stone Desert Parks, said the Administration.

About 1.6 million hectares of stony desertification land have been brought under control, it said.

The Administration noted that China will strengthen cooperation in desertification control with neighboring countries and key countries along the Belt & Road Initiative routes, and reinforce the desertification control network in Northeast Asia and bilateral collaboration with Mongolia in the coming five years. China formally acceded to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in 1996.