United Technologies Corporation (UTX) says it is supporting Conservation International's efforts to restore critically endangered forests within the mountains of southwest China through a US$200,000 grant stretching over two years.

UTC's grant donation will be used to support a pilot reforestation effort that will replant and improve natural regeneration of native tree species on 102 hectares in the Teng Chong County, Yunnan Province around the Gao Li Gong Nature Reserve. When completed, this effort, a part of CI's Forest Restoration for Climate, Community and Biodiversity initiative, could have the potential to absorb about 16,600 tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years.

"Environmental sustainability is part of UTC's commitment to social responsibility," said Jim Gradoville, president of United Technologies International Operations in China. "That's why we are pleased to support a project such as this, which will help restore the forest in one of the world's most threatened natural environments."

CI's FCCB initiative is working in partnership with the State Forestry Administration of China, the Yunnan and Sichuan forestry departments and other non-government partners to demonstrate the benefits of utilizing

native species to restore degraded lands in areas that provide critical habitat for wildlife. In addition to revitalizing habitat, the pilot projects will demonstrate the additional value of ecological services provided by native species, such as carbon sequestration and water services. Initial funding for the initiative was provided by the 3M Foundation.

The mountains of southwest China face increased pressure from over logging and flooding due to loss of natural habitat. By reforesting with native species, it provides multiple benefits, such as protecting the region from massive soil erosion and flooding, insuring a viable habitat for endangered species, conservation of soil and water, reducing the risks of pests, pathogens and fire, and sequestration of carbon, one of the main contributors to global climate change.

"We are pleased that CI is helping China restore our natural forests within this vital region, and would also like to thank UTC for their generous support, "said Zou Heng Fang, director of reforestation division of the Yunnan Forestry Department. "Such projects show how both private and public entities can work together to support conservation efforts."

CI's reforestation efforts in China will follow the standards created by the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), an initiative of leading companies and NGOs to promote land-based projects that deliver multiple benefits. To earn approval under the CCB Standards, projects must satisfy 15 required criteria to demonstrate compelling net benefits for fighting climate change, conserving biodiversity, and improving socio-economic conditions for local communities.

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