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For decades, China has been planting trees along the rim of the Gobi Desert. This "Great Green Wall" is the largest forestation project ever attempted, designed to stave off the encroaching desert and lessen the severity of dust storms in China's populous northeastern region. As of 2006, 25 million hectares of new forest were growing. A new climate model study projects that when complete, this shelterbelt will be the environmental buffer that China hopes for.