Yellow River tree project - please read!

Paul Meschter pmcsp at
Sun Aug 13 10:21:50 EST 2000


 I am posting this announcement as a favor to a friend and concerned
citizen of the Earth. Please read and respond directly to
WMMettler3 at - not the sender. Forward this post as an attachment to
ecologists, botanists, horticulturists, land management specialists and
anyone who may be interested in helping with a proactive ecological effort.
Thank you, Paul

"Dear Global Thinker,

I have become very concerned about the plight of the Yellow River in China.

The river and the land around it are dying from lack of a viable
water management program and especially from want of trees.

The Yellow River (Huang He),the third longest river in the world,
extends 3400 miles from the Tibetan plateau to the Yellow Sea.
Until 30 years ago it was too turbulent for navigation and swimming.

Today, due to 10 years of drought, 4500 diversion projects
and 29,000 pumping stations the Yellow River reaches the ocean
only 35 days out of the year.

Shandong Province is the last to receive the dwindling waters of Huang He.
This province grows 1/5 of China's corn and 1/7 of her wheat. 500,000 wells
have been dug because river flow is insufficient for irrigation.
There is now a danger that sea water will seep into
the land of Shandong Province and destroy its agricultural capacity.

One vision for saving the river and its environs is a
massive tree planting project along the course of the Yellow River.
A sufficient number of trees would draw moisture into the soil, retain water
in the land, generate water vapor into the air, encourage rain and
bring back water to the river and its tributaries.

David Deppner, President of Trees For The Future, estimated that there would
have to be a square mile of trees on either side of the river for every
linear mile of the river in order to effect rainfall and retain water in the
soil.  The total number required would be about 2.65 billion.  The cost
of the seedlings would be approximately 265 million dollars at 10 cents a
seedling.  The best location for planting would be in the uplands of the
river's valley.  Deppner added that the trees would have to be economically
useful to the people so they would plant and care for them.  Native trees
would be selected to
survive in the different bio-regions along the river.

If you would kindly share you knowledge, please consider the following

1.  Which indigenous and commercially productive trees (fruit, nuts,
lumber, industrial and medicinal extracts) would be appropriate for the
bio-region along the Yellow River? Which non-indiginous species might be
safely introduced and be commercially viable?

2.  If an international consortium would provide the appropriate seedlings
to China and there would be sufficient education and support to mobilize a
planting work force,would this vision of 2.65 billion additional trees
be efficacious from a scientific standpoint?  Would the waters of the river
be restored and the soil of Shandong Province be saved?

3.  Could the seedlings of 2.65 billion native trees in the Yellow River
uplands survive without a centrally managed river water use program?

4.  Would it be necessary to plant fast growing trees (e.g., Leucaena) as a
first step before planting the slower growing fruit, nut and extract trees?

5.  The source of the river is currently half its strength from before the
drought and overgrazing of the Tibetan plateau. Are there native plant
varieties that could be reintroduced to the region around the river source
that would encourage water retention in the soil and promote rainfall?

6.  Who might determine which trees are the most commercially feasible from
both a domestic and foreign market point of view. Do you have any contacts
at the Ministry of Forestry or the Academy of Science in China who we could
interest in this project?

7.  If this Yellow River tree planting vision is viable, what would
constitute a reasonable pilot project?  At what point on the river's course
would be a good site to begin?  How large an area should the pilot project
cover? How many seedlings can one person plant in an eight hour work day?
How many people would be needed to plant a square mile of trees in one week?
How many support staff would be needed to care for the planted seedlings?
What would be the greatest natural threat to the seedlings?

To summarize, the anticipated benefits of this project are:
- to restore a vital natural feature of the Earth in danger of demise,
- save millions of acres of productive farmland,
- mitigate global warming & pollution,
- provide an enhanced standard of living for millions of Chinese families,
- show a unilateral gesture of goodwill for increased global security, and
- encourage good centralized river management and sustainable development.

I deeply appreciate your willingness to consider these questions. Kindly
forward this post to those who may also be able to help.
Please reply to me directly by any of the means below.  Thank you very

Bill Mettler

email:    WMMettler3 at
fax:      (215) 885-8031
mail:    131 Woodland Rd., Wyncote, Pennsylvania  19095  USA

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