BEIJING, China – United Technologies Corp. today expanded its partnership with Conservation International (CI) in restoring forests in the environmentally critical Mountains of Southwest China biodiversity hotspot. UTC’s reforestation investment now totals $500,000.
UTC’s latest grant of $300,000 – which follows a donation of $200,000 announced last year – enables CI to restore more than 120 hectares, or roughly 300 acres, of degraded lands inside one of the world’s biodiversity “hotspots” for imperiled species.
UTC’s contribution to CI’s Forest Restoration for Climate, Community and Biodiversity (FCCB) initiative is expected to offset 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide, a leading contributor to global warming, during the 30-year life of the forest. Restoration of the degraded land using native trees also helps protect the nearby Ma An Shan Nature Reserve in southern Sichuan province, China – home to many critically endangered species, including the giant panda and elusive clouded leopard.
“CI’s on the ground work and progress toward restoring this critically important forest relies on support from forward thinking companies like UTC,” said Lu Zhi, Ph.D., Director, CI–Shan Shui Center for Nature and Society, CI’s China affiliate. “We are so pleased that UTC places such a premium on this project and continues to support such a worthy investment.”
The Mountains of Southwest China stretches over 262,000 square kilometers characterized by complex topography ranging from valleys to mountains. The region encompasses a wide variety of ecosystems, including broad-leaved and coniferous forests, bamboo groves, scrub communities, alpine meadow, freshwater wetlands, and alpine scrub and screen communities.
The region has been identified as one of the world’s 34 biodiversity “hotspots” – places where 75 percent of the planet’s most threatened mammals, birds and amphibians survive in just 2.3 percent of the Earth’s surface – a space roughly equal to the five largest U.S. states.
CI has already restored more than 5,000 hectares of degraded lands within the Mountains of Southwest China hotspot. It plans to do more in the near future. The organization’s FCCB initiative also is working with the State Forestry Administration of China, The Nature Conservancy and other groups to demonstrate the benefits of using native species to restore degraded lands in areas that provide critical habitat for wildlife, while providing job opportunities and livelihood support to the local communities.
The Mountains of Southwest China face increased pressure from such natural disasters as flooding and landslides due to loss of natural habitat. Reforesting with native species provides multiple benefits, such as ensuring a viable habitat for endangered species, conserving soil and water, reducing the risk of pests, pathogens and fires, and sequestering carbon.
About the organizations:
United Technologies (NYSE: UTX) is a Fortune Global 500 company based in Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A., that provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the building systems and aerospace industries worldwide. UTC businesses include Otis Elevator, Carrier heating and cooling, UTC Fire & Security, and UTC Power, Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines, Hamilton Sundstrand aerospace systems and Sikorsky helicopters.
For several years, UTC and its business units have supported China’s efforts to promote sustainable development. Last year, UTC and China’s Ministry of Construction signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to promote sustainable development of Chinese buildings and cities. UTC’s Otis unit is the first elevator company to receive a Green Product Award from the China Environmental Protection Foundation. Earlier this year, Otis opened the world’s first “green” manufacturing facility in China's Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA). UTC’s Carrier unit has sponsored the China Ozone Layer Protection Awards Program, hosted by the State Environmental Protection Administration, which recognizes outstanding contributions by Chinese individuals and organizations to ozone layer protection. Further information about UTC is available at www.utc.com.