China regained over 6.7 million hectares of land from desertification in 2021, according to the country's forestry authority.
The data was released by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration(NFGA) on Thursday ahead of the International Day Against Desertification and Drought.
The event which falls on June 17 every year is designed to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification, which is among the greatest threats to sustainable development, especially in developing countries, according to the UN. This year's theme is "Rising up from drought together".
According to the NFGA, China cut back desertification and rocky desertification by over 6.7 million hectares and over two million hectares respectively in 2021. Earlier date shows that from 2016 to 2020, China reclaimed nearly 11 million hectares of land from desertification.
NFGA attributed the achievement to the multi-pronged actions by the central and local governments: including central governments' financial support, scientists research efforts, individuals' participation in the national forestation campaign, international cooperation, among others.
Desertification is the process of land degradation from soil and vegetation to drylands, caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), drylands currently cover about 46 percent of the global land area and are home to three billion people. Data from the World Meteorological Organization in 2021 shows that the world is seeing more and longer droughts since 2000 - the number and duration of droughts has increased by 29 percent since 2000, as compared to the two previous decades - suggesting that the situation may get worse.