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Preventing Desertification in China (China)

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC)

Project to Prevent Desertification

Toyota has established a sustainable reforestation model of harmonious coexistence with local inhabitants by trial and error.

Project Outline

Desertification has become a serious problem in China, which has been caused mainly by over-grazing. Deserts have encroached as far as the outskirts of Beijing. From 2001, Toyota, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hebei Province Forestry Bureau and NPO Green Earth Center have been conducting a Project to Prevent Desertification by planting trees in a 3,000ha area on the front lines just outside of Beijing. By searching the environment and social aspects in these areas and sharing the concept towards reforestation between Chinese and Japanese partners by arguments, it seeks to halt the desertification at its source. We also aim to make regions reforested and profitable and its inhabitants economically independent. Taking a variety of efforts to ensure these reforestational activities, Toyota has established the sustainable reforestation model by trial and error.

Project area

Xiaobazi Village in Fenging Man Autonomous County, Hebei Province, which lies just 180 km outside of Beijing.

Although it is one of the source of water supply for Beijing and Tianjing, 38% of its land has turned to the desert mainly by over-grazing.

Features of this project

1. Halting desertification at its source

As a countermeasure to over-grazing, the main cause of desertification, we encourage farmers to raise dairy cows which don't need open grazing and to cultivate grass.

Over grazing of goatOver grazing of goat

Introduction of dairy cowsIntroduction of dairy cows

Cultivation of grassCultivation of grass

2. Supports for local inhabitants' economic independence

Fruit trees and medicinal plants are being cultivated as a way to earn money and help the local inhabitants to be economically independent. In addition, we established a system to use the money from planted regions for reforestation in new area to support this project after Toyota's support finished.

Plants which suit the geographical conditions(Total 19 species)Plants which suit the geographical conditions
(Total 19 species)

Fruit tree (Wild Apricot)Fruit tree (Wild Apricot)

Medicinal plantsMedicinal plants

3. Improving awareness and understanding of reforestation

In order to sustain these activities, we monitored the change of environment by reforestation and established an educational system for local inhabitants who took a major role in the reforestation activities.

Monitoring effects of environmental improvementMonitoring effects of environmental improvement

Sharing a concept toward reforestation at Meetings between Chinese and Japanese partnersSharing a concept toward reforestation at Meetings between Chinese and Japanese partners

Training and exhibition facility (May 2008)Training and exhibition facility (May 2008)

Effect

The planted forest reduces the wind velocity in the reforested area and as results of halting of grazing, the biomass of understory vegetation increased and the sandy soil came stable. With these effects, the soil temperature in summer dropped and the soil nutrient increases.

Before reforestationBefore reforestation

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9 years after planting9 years after planting

Toyota has finished its reforestation activities through 10 years as planned.Shifting the main player to TMC's Chinese subsidiary , new planting activities has been started in 2011.