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Super plant combats desertification

2013-09-15 09:12 Xinhua Web Editor: Sun Tian

Experts and researchers on Saturday introduced new plant technology at a conference held on Saturday in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, to harness desertification of China.

Juncao, a kind of herbaceous herb, can be cultivated as substrate for edible and medicinal fungi, which may make great strides in sand control and reduce desertification thanks to the efforts of Lin Zhanxi, professor at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, and his team.

Lin started working with Juncao in 1986 and developed his system over more than two decades of research and innovation.

In April, sand control trials using Juncao were approved by the State Forestry Administration and forestry departments in Inner Mongolia, in a shifting dune region in Alxa League, with high temperatures, winds and low rainfall.

After four months the sand in the region has stabilized, and 75 percent of the Juncao are alive. Only 120 days to stabilize moving dune with Juncao means the technology could be a new way to arrest desertification in China.

Research results show that the plant has a high rate of photosynthesis, and high nutritional value, as well as being low-cost and high-profit.

"While turning the deserts green, Juncao also has economic benefits for society," said Tang Junhua, deputy dean of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

The super plant could also be using as substrate to cultivate mushrooms, and be manufactured into high-quality forage.

Tang said that taking full advantage of the plant, a series of ventures for milk production, edible fungi and new energy, could be set up in deserted regions.

In Rwanda, the technology made great progress against soil erosion along the upper reaches of Nile in 2006. Soil erosion in land which was planted with Juncao reduced by 97.6 percent more than land planted traditional crops.

According to the State Forestry Administration, China has 2.6 million square km of desert, accounting for 27 percent of the country's total land area. Desertification is not only a problem for China, but also a global issue. The desert areas are mainly scattered among 12 provincial-level regions in north China.

Lin believes the super plant will lay a profound impact on global sand control efforts given its effectiveness in arresting sand.

"As a new 'weapon' against desertification, Juncao will completely reverse the desertification trend in China in the future," Lin said.

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