Trees planted in the Wuwei district to dissipate sand storms have already died from dry conditions. Water levels in the area have dropped from 8 to 12 meters below ground level in the 1950s to as much as 100 meters now. An ever-growing population is converting land for agriculture, destroying trees and other natural vegetation, overusing groundwater, and building reservoirs to supply water for towns and irrigated agriculture. Compounding the problems are overgrazing, the use of wood as domestic fuel, and cultivation of crops that consume a lot of water.
© Greenpeace / John Novis