With China's deserts spreading another 950 square miles each year, the government is evicting families and replanting farms to stem the tide, the Christian Science Monitor reports from Gansu province. With 20% of the world's population but 7% of its arable land, China's decades-old problem has worsened due to overfarming, deforestation and global warming.
Some farmers leave willingly; others are frustrated about being forced out with little compensation. To curb desertification, the government planted billions of trees—but that only adds to the larger problem of ever-diminishing water sources. "I have no option," says one farmer. "The government tells me to move and won't listen to us."