China's Soil Resource

China's land is vast and varied. There are large areas of cultivated land, forests, meadows, deserts and mud flats. However, there are more mountainous regions of China than plains and, because of this, the proportions of cultivated land and forests are small. Many land resources are unevenly distributed. The cultivated land is centered mainly in the plains of the eastern monsoon district and basin area. The forests are centered more in the northeastern and southwestern outlying mountain areas. The meadows are distributed in the landlocked plateau.


Cultivated land: There are 1,270,000 square kilometers of cultivated land in China. It is divided into the east, central and west regions. The cultivated land is concentrated on the northeastern plain, the north China plain, Yangtze River, Zhujiang River Delta and Sichuan Basin. The northeastern plain has rich, black soil and produces mostly wheat, corn, sorghum, soybeans, flax and beets. The north China plain is mostly brown soil. Crops there contain wheat, corn, grain, sorghum, cotton and peanuts. The midstream, downstream and plain areas of the Changjiang River produce rice, mandarin oranges and flax. Sichuan Basin abounds with rice, flax, sugarcane, tea, mandarin oranges and shaddock.


China's forested areas total 158,940,000 hectares. The country's forest coverage rate is 16.5 per cent - much lower than the average forest coverage rate of 30.8 per cent for the rest of the world. China's wildwood is densely distributed mostly in the northeast and southwest. The eastern plains have much less forest.


China has many varieties of trees. There are more than 2,800 kinds of arbors and rare types of ginkgo and metasequoia. China has launched an extensive reforestation campaign in order to protect the environment and meet the demands of economic development. China has the largest area of artificial forest in the world. It currently measures 33,790,000 hectares.


China has several forest zones. The northeast zone is the largest natural forest zone of China and includes the Daxing'an mountain range, the Xing'an Mountains and the ground region of the Changbai Mountains. The southwest forest zone includes the Hengduan Mountain area, the Himalayan foothills and Brahmaputra. The southwest zone is the second largest natural forest zone in China. The southeast forest zone includes the south region of the Qinling Mountains - the first line of Huaihe River and the mountain area of vast hills to the east of the plateau of Yunnan-Guizhou. This is the main artificial forest zone of China. In addition, there are widespread shelterbelt networks in China. They are in the Chinese northeast, north China and the northwest. The total length of these networks is more than 7,000 kilometers. They cover 600,000,000 million hectares and account for one-quarter of the area of Chinese land. They are referred to as the biggest ecological project in the world.


China's grasslands are some of the largest in the world and cover 266,060,000 hectares. Various types of meadows account for one-quarter of China's landmass. They help sustain livestock in different seasons. The natural meadow of China is distributed in the areas of the north Daxing'an Mountain range, to the west of the Yinshan Mountains and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau east foothills. The artificially sown pastures are designed to mesh with the cultivated land. The pastures of Inner Mongolia are the largest is the world and support many domestic animals including horses and oxen. The Xinjiang pastures support different types of sheep and plow horses. The yak is the most common animal found in the pastures of Qinghai and Tibet.