In this video, Evan Girvertz, a senior scientist for The Nature Conservancy, describes how a reforestation project in Inner Mongolia, China will help surrounding communities adapt to climate change.
Trees to be replanted on the slopes of a mountain in Inner Mongolia, China promise changes for the people who live and farm in the valleys below: less flooding, more protection from dust storms and improved water supplies.
In these historically forested hills, the loss of trees that hold the soil in place and allow water to gradually recharge, has meant that lowland settlements are vulnerable to flooding and erosion in the wet season, and to water shortages during dryer times of the year.
With a $2 million investment from The Walt Disney Company, The Nature Conservancy will help reforest 2,500 hectares (about 6,177 acres) in the Heling’er region of Inner Mongolia over 30 years. Disney’s investment will generate forest carbon reductions that will help the company meet its goal of having net zero direct greenhouse gas emissions as an enterprise.
As part of a national program, China has pledged to replant trees on 40 million hectares by 2020 (that’s just under 100 million acres or about the size of Germany). Forest restoration work in Inner Mongolia will account for about 30 percent of this effort.
The Disney reforestation project will restore severely degraded landscapes in Inner Mongolia, and ensure that the grasslands and forests there continue to support agricultural communities and stabilize the increasingly large deserts and sandstorms that can cause so much damage during the spring.
In addition, the replanted forests will sequester carbon and support the region’s wildlife by creating corridors and buffers around nature reserves.
Forest restoration in Inner Mongolia may offer a model for other regions of how conservation can help people prepare for the extreme conditions predicted with climate change.
Evan Girvetz is a senior scientist in The Nature Conservancy’s Global Climate Change Program
Video by: Paul Mackie/The Nature Conservancy
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