Until recently China's Loess Plateau was one of the poorest regions of the country. But a major project is restoring fertility and hope. Centuries of continuous agriculture have removed the trees and leaving land vulnerable to erosion from wind and rain. An area the size of Belgium, its once fertile soils have been washed away, leaving a blighted land scarred with deep ravines - and farmers scarcely able to make a living. According to soil scientist John Liu, its a story repeated all over the world. For 15 years hes been following a remarkable project to replant trees and stablise the soils of the Loess Plateau. Once bare hillsides are now cloaked with green forest and productive fields. Earth Report follows John Liu on a journey from China to Africa to find out how the the lessons learnt re Loess Plateau could help restore degraded lands around the world.
Earth Report travels to Indonesia where recent fires have been laying waste to vast areas of peat swamp forest. The worlds tropical forests store 25 per cent of all terrestrial carbon and absorb 15 percent of our annual C02 emissions. But when those forests are cleared the tables are turned and forests emit CO2 rather than storing it. Scientists estimate that deforestation contributes up to 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Earth Report assess the destruction and asks if anything can be done.
Coastal communities across South East Asia are battling rising tides. Coastal development and now climate change have created a dangerous combination of sinking land and rising sea levels. Now those very shrimp farms are under threat from climate-related flooding. Java's fifth largest city is slowly sinking beneath the sea its port and many homes now under water for six months a year. Vietnam too is vulnerable. A one-metre increase in sea level will destroy much food production in the Mekong Delta the nations breadbasket - and force millions to flee. Earth Report finds out how the region is fighting back.
Earth Report looks at how Mozambique is adapting to the Zambezi under climate change.
The Ethiopian Government wants to give everyone a toilet in a country where only a third of its 77 million people have access to sanitation. From rubbish tips in the centre of Addis, to rural orchards across the Rift Valley, Earth Report discovers whether the Governments 'universal access plan' is working.
Forty per cent of the world's population are without access to a latrine or toilet. In the International Year of Sanitation, Earth Report travels to Bangladesh to discover changing attitudes to hygiene. No more open defecation: instead of top-down solutions, a new community-led approach has eradicated open defecation in more than 300 villages.
China's frantic development depends on escalating electricity generation - at great cost to the environment. But in the remote south-western province of Guangxi the application of simple technology allows millions of poor families to cook and keep warm with biogas made from human and animal waste. Over 13 millions tonnes of firewood and nearly eight million tonnes of coal are saved every year.
For 5,000 years the Marsh Arabs lived in the mythical Garden of Eden in the marshes of southern Iraq. Saddam decimated the marshes in the early 90s. Tens of thousands died; over 300,000 people fled into exile. With Saddam toppled the waters are returning. Earth Report discovers if Eden will ever be the same again?
For every kilo of shrimp netted, up to 20 kilos of other sea creatures are needlessly killed. It's called bycatch and it makes shrimp trawling one of the most wasteful methods of fishing harming the marine environment and also damaging commercial fisheries. Earth Report travels to Mexico and the Philippines where the industry is trialling new nets and new practices that aim to drastically reduce the bycatch from shrimp fishing.
Could the market place be the salvation for the world's forests? The debate over saving natural forests has been raging for 30 years, yet each year an area of forest the size of Panama is lost. Earth Report follows sustainable timber from the forests of Indonesia through the sawmills and furniture factories to the retailers in the UK to chart the new market for certified wood. The seller sells only certified replaceable timber and that's only what the retailer will take.