Hitachi Construction Machinery (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (HCS) has been engaged in an afforestation program called “HCS Forest Project” in China’s Horqin Desert since FY 2005. This desert is located in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China. HCS entrusts this task to Ryokka (greening) Network, an environment-friendly non-governmental organization (NGO). The purpose of this project is to revegetate the desert caused in part by excessive cattle grazing. In order to prevent a return to the desert, HCS has invited the participation of local residents in this project so as to encourage them to make a sustainable and effective use of the land.
In FY 2012 the existing planted (poplar trees and pines, etc.) windbreakers had excellent growth. Compared to the survey 2 years ago, poplar treesf average height of the 3 measured locations grew from 5.2 m to 6.7 m and chest-height diameter grew from 5.5 cm to 7.3 cm. Additionally, in the previous survey, we confirmed 6 varieties of plants while in the current survey we were able to confirm 10 varieties of plants and the afforestation is recovering at a good rate. Accompanying this, wild rabbits, pheasants, partridges, field mice and other small animals are returning.
This year as well poplar trees were pruned and grass was cut with the participation of local residents. Concerning the pruning work, 40 local resident households returned to their homes carrying in half-full carriages collected branches for use as fuels in winter season. This was half the collected quantity of last year. Annually continuing to prune is not good for the maintenance of the trees and the efficiency of the collection is worse, so we have decided to prune every 2 years. 5 local households participated in the grass cutting and collected 10 carriages of grass. This is sufficient to feed 5 cows during winter season. This has resulted in a tangible benefit and led to an increased awareness of afforestation among the local residents. In FY 2013 we will continue activities promoting local resident participation, including fence inspections and repairs.