RESOURCES IN CHINA

With a mass land area as well as a huge population, China's natural resources are large in aggregate amount and small in per capita terms with most of the resources available per person less than half of the world average. Resources are not efficiently used and are heavily wasted in the country.

China has 9% of the world's arable land, 6% of water resources, 4% of forests, 1.8% of petroleum oil, 0.7% of natural gas, 9% of iron ore, 5% of copper and 2% of bauxite. The lack of natural resources has created many constraints on China's expanding economy.

Land Resources
China's 9.6 million km2 land area ranks third in the world, but is only one-third of the world average in per capita terms. Arable land area ranks second in the world while per capita arable land is 67th worldwide. Soil erosion and pollution are the two biggest challenges facing arable land.

Forest Resources
China's forest area spans 134 million ha and timber stock is 10.1 billion m3. Per capita forest area and timber stock is 0.12ha and 9m3 respectively, only 1/6 and 1/8 of the world average. Forests occupy 13.9% of the land area; the percentage is half of the world average.

Mineral Resources
Having discovered 155 mineral reserves including 90 non-metal minerals, 54 metal minerals, 8 energy minerals and 3 waterborne minerals, China's proven mineral resources are the third largest in the world after Russia and the United States. However, per capita mineral resource availability is 58% of the world's average, ranking after 50th worldwide. Major minerals include antimony, graphite, tungsten, zinc, aluminum, bauxite, diamond, gold, iron ore, lead, magnetite, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, tin, uranium and vanadium.

Energy Resources
China has rich reserves of conventional energy including coal, oil and natural gas, of which 94% is coal, 5.4% oil and the remaining 0.6% natural gas. Coal contributes to 70% of total energy consumption, 75% of industrial fuels and 85% of civilian fuels. China has discovered 900 billion tons of coal reserves, most of them in the north. China has 80 billion tons of oil reserves and 4 billion m3 of natural gas reserves in the long run. China is stepping up developing renewable energy and nonconventional energy such as shale gas.

Freshwater Resources
China's total amount of water resources is 2.8 trillion m3, including 820 billion m3 of underground water, which ranks 6th worldwide. About 80% of the water resources come from the south of the Yangtze River. Water shortage is severe in the north.

Marine Resources
China's coastline stretches 18,000km and up to 32,000km if archipelagos and islands are accounted for. Waters area spans 4.7 million km2, with over 6,000 aquatic creatures. Offshore oil and gas reserves are estimated to range between 5 billion and 15 billion tons. Output from the marine industry makes up 2% of GDP, compared to 5% in developed economies.

Solar Resources
The energy China gets from sunshine is equivalent to 2.4 trillion tons of coal per year. Northwestern regions including Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia receive the most sunshine.


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