Inside Diary of Dan Lambe: Journey Through Southeast Asia

Sa Wat Dee


Biking on Bang Kachao Island

That’s hello in Thai. Last month I spent a week traveling throughout Southeast Asia with leaders in international programs at the U.S. Forest Service and the Nature Conservancy to promote urban forestry programs in the region as we explore new program and partnership opportunities.

After a 30 hour journey I spent the first day touring lively Bangkok biking through the “Green Lung” of Bangkok, or Bang Kachao Island— an oasis encompassing 2,000 hectares of lush, green forest carved next to the city center. It was a nice escape from the chaos and smog of the Bangkok. Forest faculty from Kaestrat University showed us student projects they are managing that test new conservation strategies.

Day two proved to be even more insightful as we met with public and private leaders including the environmental director of The Asia Foundation and country director for Thailand who taught us more about their collaborations across Southeast Asia. We also met the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN), a group that brings partners and cities together to combat climate change. Climate change is a hot topic in the region at the moment and opens the doors to the importance of urban forestry and the impact is has on both communities and climate. And that’s just what we did the following day.


City view of Bangkok

My last day in Thailand was filled with meetings with the Rockefeller Foundation and USAID—both big leaders of the resiliency efforts—where we engaged in high level discussions about the role trees play in climate change the challenges Southeastern Asian cities are facing. I left the meetings with a renewed energy to tackle on the rest of the week. Up next, Vietnam.

Arbor Day Foundation joins four partners in Missouri River cottonwood planting

Cottonwood trees are returning to the bank of the Missouri River.

Last week, a group of Nebraska City employees of the Arbor Day Foundation joined Nature Conservancy staff to plant 1,500 cottonwood seedlings along the river in southeast Nebraska, just north of Nebraska City. The two organizations are aided by the U.S. Forest Service and Nebraska Forest Service.

Lincoln-based Foundation employees participated in a similar planting earlier in the year.

Tyler Janke of the Nature Conservancy says cottonwoods were chosen because they are “tough” and grow quickly, even in the face of flooding.

“In a sense, cottonwoods are a pioneer species,” he said.

Cottonwoods are so resilient that they “essentially create their own microclimate,” Janke continued, “and they represent the beginnings of the forest community.”

And that’s exactly what we’re looking for – a chance to reforest and renew the ecosystem along the Missouri River, both in Nebraska and further downstream if we can. The new cottonwoods will make the area more sustainable and better able to withstand future flooding.

You can see the planting for yourself in this short video. Credit is due to Amy Stouffer, web content manager and e-communication specialist with the Foundation in Nebraska City, for preparing the footage and photographs.