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New Forest Has Roots in Industry

The China Green Foundation launched a long-term tree-planting program with multinational companies on Wednesday in Beijing to help mitigate climate change.

The 100-hectare CEO Forest and Enterprise Forest will be located in the capital's Mentougou district and will be partly funded by the CEOs of foreign firms and organizations registered in China or with a branch office in the Asia-Pacific region.

Ginkgos, Chinese pines, huashan pines and lacebark pines will be planted in the forest, and for US$4,500, CEOs can put permanent memorial plates on the trees they plant.

Companies can also grow Chinese white poplars, willows, cypresses, Chinese pines, ginkgos and maples for US$6,800 per mu. Caretakers will look after the trees' upkeep.

Wang Zhibao, chairman of the China Green Foundation under the State Forestry Administration, said: "With the acceleration of global warming, forests play a role that goes beyond being part of the ecosystem to becoming an effective device to mitigate climate change."

Research has shown that 1 cu m of timber can absorb 1.83 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) - the main greenhouse gas causing global warming - and can release 1.62 tons of oxygen annually. Planting trees, however, can reduce people's carbon footprints.

For example, a 2,000-km flight emits 78.5 kg of CO2, which can be offset by planting three trees.

Zhang Xiaochong, an official with the National Development and Reform Committee, said: "The program will provide a platform for foreign firms to express their concerns about climate change and turn those concerns into action.

"It is also a good opportunity for them to fulfill their corporate social responsibility."

Several foreign organizations, including the German Chamber of Commerce, Japan-based Brother (China) Ltd and Daimler Northeast Asia, have already participated in the program.

In the past, Mentougou was a sand mining site, and severe sandstorms blow from the area every winter and spring, sometimes reaching downtown Beijing. The program is part of efforts to restore the local ecosystem. 

(China Daily March 27, 2008)

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