SHANGHAI ROOTS & SHOOTS: THE MILLION TREE PROJECT
The Shanghai Roots & Shoots Million Tree Project, which began in 2007, aims to raise community awareness of the Earth’s precious environment while focusing on steps individuals can take to lessen their negative impact on the natural world. By planting trees in Inner Mongolia, the Million Tree Project is designed to improve both ecological and humanitarian conditions there. The project gives individuals and organizations an opportunity to fight global warming by planting oxygen-producing trees. It also encompasses true capacity building as the local population is intimately involved with, and benefits from, every step of planting, maintaining and monitoring the trees.
2007-2008 Poplar site
Location and Goal
A combination of the climate change and land exploitation such as overgrazing and over-farming have degraded the land of Kulun Qi, Tongliao Municipality, Inner Mongolia, and the now desertified area is expanding at an astonishing rate. Sandstorms strike Inner Mongolia and its surrounding areas each spring, destroying local homes and forcing many people to flee their native land. This project will reforest the area in order to revitalize the land and block the sandstorms.
Shanghai Roots & Shoots aims to plant one million trees in the desertified land of Inner Mongolia by 2014. As of August 2011, we have planted over 600,000 trees.
Each tree planted in Inner Mongolia through this project clears the air of 250 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) over the course of its life. This calculation is based on research from the Washington State University Hybrid Poplar Research Program and was adjusted specifically for the Million Tree Project.
Desertification threatens the local livelihood; Local kids help monitor and maintain the trees
Types of Trees Planted
We mostly plant hybrid poplars (Populus simonii), which are particularly effective at sequestering carbon and don’t require much water. Experts from the Forestry Bureau of Kulun Qi and from Oregon State University in the United States deemed this species suitable for the local soil and climate. In 2009 we also planted several plots of yellowhorn (Xanthoceras sorbifolia). Yellowhorn seeds contain twice the amount of oil as soybeans, and the oil can be used for both cooking and industrial purposes. This species has a long history of successful growth in the region and will bring both economic and ecological benefits. In 2011 we started to plant pine trees (Pinus sylvestnis var. mongolica Litv.) which have been proved suitable in fighting desertification in nearby areas.
Maintaining and Monitoring the Trees
Local farmers and tree planters help plant, monitor, and maintain the trees growing on their personal plots of land, as allocated by the government. The farmers are licensed to harvest the trees that have reached maturity, but only on the condition that they replant on the same plot. Besides, local farmers can inter-plant crops for extra income, which benefits biodiversity and the trees at the same time.
Roots & Shoots also works with the Youth League of Kulun Qi to engage local students, encouraging them to get involved by measuring the growth of the trees, assessing the ecological impact of the trees, and helping create a database for long-term project development. Roots & Shoots will also set up an environmental education program to raise local community awareness of conservation and sustainability.
Yellowhorn Pine Tree planting trip 2011 Forestry Manage doing field investigation
Shanghai Roots & Shoots cooperates with the Nursery Technology Cooperative of the Department of Forest Science of Oregon State University, USA. Environmental Resources Management (ERM), a global environmental consulting firm, contributes expertise and validates our project as an effective way to reduce and sequester greenhouse gases. Our fulltime forestry manager, a graduate from Nanjing Forestry University, works onsite to evaluate how the trees are growing and to ensure continued success by assessing the technical aspects of tree planting: soil evaluation, viability of the saplings, watering regimens used, and local community support.
Tree Planting Retreats
Every year, Shanghai Roots & Shoots staff, volunteers, and sponsors travel to Inner Mongolia to plant trees with local farmers. The trips are scheduled in April to coincide with the best poplar planting season. A company must donate a minimum of 2,000 trees, a school group must donate a minimum of 1,000 trees, and individual must donate a minimum of 500 trees to join the trip. Participants must be 16+.
Sponsoring one tree costs RMB 25, including all expenses needed throughout the tree’s life.
Getting Involved Personally
√ Make a commitment to notice your habits and change your lifestyle accordingly. Consciously choose to reduce your energy/resource consumption by recycling, eating more local foods, and turning off your lights when you leave the room. These are simple changes that will make a difference by reducing humans’ negative impact on our planet.
√ Determine your yearly carbon footprint and reduce it – better yet, completely offset it!
√ Tell people about the Million Tree Project.
Getting Involved Professionally
√ Reduce your office’s energy consumption. Get a Shanghai Roots & Shoots Eco-Office Audit, in which a team of well-trained students will come in and calculate your office’s carbon footprint.
√ Set up a mandatory program to offset pollution from company travel. Corporate air travel emits huge amounts of carbon dioxide and therefore contributes considerably to global warming. See our website to determine how many trees are needed to voluntarily offset the emissions.
√ Sponsor corporate forests; 2,000 trees make a healthy-sized forest. This sends employees and clients a strong message that your company cares about its environmental impact. With GPS technology, you will be able to view the exact location of your company’s forest!
The Gift That Keeps Giving
√ Planting a tree in someone’s honor is a unique, thoughtful, and environmentally friendly gift for any festive occasion. Sponsor trees for the Million Tree Project as personal gifts for friends and family, or as corporate gifts for clients and staff.
Contact us to get involved:
Shanghai Roots & Shoots
Tel: (86-21) 6352 3580 Fax: (86-21) 5306 0008
Room 1613, 16th Floor,Ocean Towers, 550 Yan’an East Road, Shanghai, China, 200001