Toyota Motor Corp. and the Green Earth Center, a Tokyo-based nongovernmental organization, said Tuesday they will launch this month a three-year joint reforestation project in China to hinder the expansion of its deserts.

Toyota and Green Earth together will fund the project.

It involves planting trees on over 1,500 hectares of land in a county in China’s Heibei Province, where desertification is spreading at an alarming rate, the two parties said in a joint statement.

Since establishing two joint production ventures in China, Toyota has shared Green Earth’s concern over desertification and decided to support the organization’s reforestation program.

Green Earth had already been involved in the reforestation of arid parts of Inner Mongolia, working with the region’s government the past nine years.

Its efforts led to the improvement of the local ecosystem and helped foster trust and friendship between Japan and China.

An external organ of the China Science Academy, the China-Japan Scientific Technology & Economic Exchange Association, will function as a liaison office, with the local county government taking charge of reforestation, Toyota and Green Earth said.

At the same time, Toyota and the China Science Academy plan to conduct joint research on anti-desertification and reforestation technologies and on evaluating reforestation with a view to eventually establishing an international research and exchange center in Xiao Ba Zi village, north of Beijing.

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