Timberland’s Horqin Reforestation Project Inner Mongolia 2011

Timberland’s Horqin Reforestation Project Inner Mongolia 2011

This article was written by - Lilian Chua

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”  Martin Luther King

Thanks to Timberland Malaysia, I had the great opportunity to join in their yearly Horqin Reforestation Project in Inner Mongolia. This is a major part of their Earthkeepers’ effort to combat desertification and sandstorm in Horqin, Inner Mongolia.

This trip was an unforgettable journey for me, from the tree planting activities to getting to know the myriad of beautiful people, the spectacular scenery which seems to be everywhere and of course the consumption of glorious local food!

Honestly, I would also like to experience the jobs undertaken by Mr Yoshio Kitaura and Mr Takashi Otaki, the two main persons behind Green Network. They are a Japanese NGO who has been working with Timberland to green the Horqin desert in Inner Mongolia since 2001. For more information on their greening activities, visit the Green Network

Tree Pruning at Wafang Desert

After a hearty local breakfast, we headed out to Wafang desert and it started to drizzle halfway. I was slightly disappointed with the weather condition but luckily, throughout the journey, I was distracted by the beautiful landscape of pine trees, endless rows of corn fields and sunflowers.

It was still drizzling when we reached the site, but spirits were not dampened and most of us seems to be enjoying the cool weather and looking forward to prune some trees!
The pruning of the lower branches encourage faster and greater growth as explained by Mr Yoshio Kitaura, the Managing Director of Green Network.
Tree pruned by the writer

Tree Planting at Agula Desert

The next day, after an approximately 3 hours of bumpy bus ride, the Singapore winner of the Timberland Photography contest 2011 managed to find humor in it and commented, “This is like a Disneyland ride!” Kudos to him for being so cheerful under such circumstances, the beauty of nature does have its magical touch.

Then we were ‘herded’ into a truck, another unforgettable journey to the actual tree planting site. Along the way were magnificent views of farms, Mongolian yurts, mountains, local horses, cattle and sheep.

Mongolian Yurts or Homes

The horses and cattle usually look malnutritioned, a result of desertification, which means lesser grass to feed on.
Cheryl Kow from Timberland Singapore, looking happy with her row of newly planted tree saplings.

Since 2001, Timberland has planted one million trees in Horqin and has committed to plant two million more in the next decade.
This is what desertification looks like. Overgrazing by domestic livestock creates desertification which in turn produces sandstorm that affects China and its neighboring countries like Japan and Taiwan.
Aishah and fellow Earthkeepers forming a human chain to water the newly-planted tree saplings. Aishah Sinclair, Malaysian actress and television host, is the ambassador for Timberland Earthkeepers. She is well-known for helping to inculcate a caring attitude for the environment, especially with the younger generation.
Robert Igabille, Global Steward for Timberland, demonstrates how to plant a tree sapling in Agula desert.

A group photo with Aishah and fellow Earthkeepers

The team from Malaysia and Singapore, including the winners from the Timberland Photography Contest 2011.

As Arthur Ang, the Regional Marketing Director for Timberland Asia Pacific, puts it, “…it starts from everyone to really have a better consideration of what we do everyday to help preserve the earth and that’s really what Earthkeepers is.

The Timberland Outdoors Horqin - Jiuzhaigou Team 2011 at Agula Desert

The Timberland Outdoors Horqin - Jiuzhaigou Team 2011 at the Timberland Forest

If you are a nature lover and adventurous, I would recommend this “Earthkeeping” trip very much. Just remember to pile on the sunblock, moisturiser and a good pair of trekking shoes! And if you are interested to volunteer for the reforestation project in Horqin, please email Green Network or contact Timberland Malaysia for more information.

Mr Takashi Otaki – he speaks fluent Mandarin and Japanese of course, and limited English.
Email: taki@js7.so-net.ne.jp

For more information about Timberland Earthkeepers commitment to green mother earth and Timberland Community. This trip was made possible by Timberland Malaysia for the Timberland’s Horqin Reforestation Project in Inner Mongolia 2011.