June 15, 2024

Korean Air restarts its major reforestation project

Korean Air has resumed its ‘Korean Air Forest’ initiative, a reforestation project aimed at combating desertification, after a four-year pause brought on by the pandemic.

To mark 20 years since the initiative started, this week airline officials gathered in Baganuur, Mongolia, which has been a major beneficiary of the scheme.

Each year, a group of 100 to 200 airline employees take part in the Korean Air Forest afforestation effort, which this year kicked off on May 20.  

Baganuur District is located 130 kms from Ulaanbaatar, a coal mining region that supplies about 60% of Mongolia’s coal.

Prior to the forest planting, coal dust from open-pit mines affected local villages. Recognizing the need for afforestation, Korean Air began planting trees to eventually cover an area of 44 hectares, or approximately 82 football fields.

The forest – which is now home over 125,300 trees of 12 species including poplars, Siberian elms, sea buckthorn, and willows, which act as a barrier to block dust and debris from nearby coal mines – has also attracted various wildlife such as insects, skylarks, rabbits and foxes. In 2019, an automated watering system was installed to ensure the trees had stable conditions to grow. The forest also serves as a venue for local students’ picnics and field trips.

“We started planting trees here 20 years ago, and both Korea and Mongolia have been steadily cultivating the Korean Air Forest together,” said Sumiya Davaasüren, the governor of Baganuur District. “I would like to thank the Korean Air team and all participants in the project on behalf of Baganuur for creating a forest to prevent desertification and the spread of yellow dust.”

In 2006, Baganuur District was recognized by the Mongolian government as a model city for green space creation and highlighted the Korean Air Forest as an exemplary eco-friendly volunteer project. Korean Air has donated computer classrooms to seven