Free «Lessons of the Loess Plateau» Essay Sample

Lessons of the Loess Plateau


Current paper focuses on the political approach that the government of China and other environmental organizations undertook to solve the problem of soil erosion in the Loess Plateau. It is located in the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River among other physical features such as Taihang Mt to the western part, Riyue-Helan Mt to the eastern part, Qinling Mt to the north and Yinsan Mt to the south. It also highlights some of the disadvantages and advantages that the control of soil erosion in Loess Plateau enjoyed by the surrounding communities (Wright). Additionally, the paper also highlights the lessons learnt from the efforts of the state during the reclamation of the Loess Plateau and how these lessons can be applied in the environmental problems affecting the community and the country at large.

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The Type of Political Approach Used by the Chinese Government and Environmental Organizations to Solve the Problem of Soil Erosion in the Loess Plateau

Firstly, the Loess Plateau located in China has been experiencing severe effects of soils erosion over the years. The major driving factor that led to the reclamation of the region from the effects of serious erosion can be traced to the issue of efficient land use and economic growth and development, mostly brought to the forefront as a result of the country’s slow rate of adoption of the modern era. The negative impact of soil erosion in the locality is attributed to the presence of erodible soil substances and the zonal distribution of the climatic factors, which seem to maximize soil erosion in the area. The population pressure exerted by an estimated number of 40 million Chinese citizens also contributed to the need to reclaim the land.

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With this in mind, the government of China and other environmental organizations used an all-inclusive state funded plan approach in order to restore the economic usefulness of Loess plateau to the residents that occupied its environs. This project was termed as the ‘Loess Watershed Rehabilitation project’ and was initiated in 1995. The main objective of the project is to improve the quality of soil in Loess Plateau through reduction of soil erosion. The joint effort by the government of China and the World Bank is, therefore, accredited with the rebirth of the self-sustaining ecosystem that the residents are currently enjoying. This method, therefore, involved educating farmers on the methods of land cultivation that yielded in minimum soil erosion. Furthermore, efforts were made to restore vegetation into the area resulting in a huge financial outlay, estimated to be over $500 million. This project entailed the analysis of the rates of erosion by use of different methods of measurements. This approach also made use of the available expertise from the Environmental Science Groups, therefore, correctly forecasting the future erosion rates.

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The Advantages and Drawbacks of the Approach Used

The government of China used several benefits of the all-inclusive approach and state funded scheme approach in her bid to reclaim the loess Plateau. For instance, the approach led to the adoption of better methods of agriculture by the farmers in the area. Originally, soil erosion was accelerated due to the activities of the human beings. Additionally, this approach ensured that every farmer in the region got an equal share of property rights. This approach, therefore, resolves the social issues of unequal distribution of national resources amongst the citizens.

A notable drawback of the approach involves the hefty amount of capital that the government in conjunction with other partners invested in the project. An initial outlay of $500 million US dollars presents a major obstacle to other unproductive regions that may need to be reclaimed. In addition, the government sponsored projects have been haunted with the tricky social issue of corruption (Tsunekawa). Despite the success of the Loess Plateau, most funds from the state were embezzled by irresponsible leaders, appointed to oversee the projects. Majority of such projects failed to take off after initial outlay, because they were deprived of the prerequisite resources. Thus, the approach that was applied in Loess Plateau avails corruption as one of its demerits.

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The nonexistence of private ownership of land in the Loess Plateau is another problem that results in detrimental effects such as weakening cases of worker responsibility and escalating inflation. All these problems are due to the approach that the government of China has adopted. Lack of ownership thus deprives the farmers the feeling of natural responsibility, hence poor use of land resources, further contributing to the demerits of this approach.

Lessons Learnt from Loess Plateau and How They Are Applicable to Environmental Problems in the Community and in the Country

The reclamation of the Loess Plateau provides us with various significant lessons, which are relevant not only in our local communities, but the country at large. Firstly, the main lesson from the Loess Plateau is to enlighten people on the negative effects of practicing bad farming methods (Laflen, Tian, and Huang). The activities of the poor farmers only served to escalate the rate of soil erosion in the area, further worsening the ecological problems that the area was suffering. This lesson is useful, because farmers in the local community and the country at large can ensure that the demerits of soil erosion are kept at a minimum level through adoption of netter farming methods.

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Moreover, the problem of unequal division of land is an issue that affects majority of the populations in the world. The re-allocating of property rights of the Loess Plateau among the farmers is an important lesson that leaders all over the world should imitate. The decision by the government to delegate the duty of land, sharing to the indigenous people proved a huge success. Each family was given a long term lease on the land and was charged with the responsibility of improving the area. In most of the developing countries, the issue of land grabbing and unequal distribution of public resources has remained a thorn in the flesh of many.

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