Great Wall in Gansu eroding

The Jingtai area of the Great Wall, built during the Ming Dynasty in 1599, is at risk of being swallowed up by farmland.

Stretching over 90 kilometers, sections in Gansu were largely built using soil and earth, unlike eastern parts of the Great Wall in Beijing and Hebei, which were mostly constructed using stones and brick.

Centuries of erosion from wind and sandstorms have rendered them extremely fragile. Some parts of the wall were reduced to soil ridges due to large-scale farming, and some were used to fence in livestock and cultivate dried grass.

The wall was severely damaged in the 1970s and 1980s, when farmland was expanded excessively, locals explained.  In 2015, Gansu established a protection zone spreading 20 meters across both sides of the wall that was put under state protection in 2006.