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Key Laboratory of Economic Plants and Biotechnology
Dietrich Schmidt vogt's Group
GONG Xun's Group
HU Hong's Group
HUANG Junchao's Group
LI Airong's Group
WANG Yuehu's Group
WU Jianqiang's Group
XU Jianchu's Group
LIU Aizhong's Group
LIU Li's Group
Location: Home > Key Laboratory of Economic Plants and Biotechnology > XU Jianchu's Group > Major Research Achievements
Major Research Achievements

(1) Observations of coupled human-environmental systems
My team has developed, established, and enhanced integrated observation needed to monitor regional environmental change in coupled human-environmental systems. Major successes include: a) establishing long-term biodiversity monitoring in NW Yunnan and Xishuangbanna; b) developing innovative logistic regression and GIS systems for mapping key habitats for biodiversity including mushroom distribution; c) facilitating a mobile workshop for understanding land use transitions across Montane Mainland Southeast Asia; d) mapping poverty alleviation in rural China; and e) creating functional links between biological and cultural diversity throughout the region.
(2) Impacts and cascading effects of climate change on alpine rangeland
The Greater Himalayas hold the largest mass of ice outside polar regions and are the source of the 10 largest rivers in Asia. Though previous research has shown that the warming climate triggered early spring growth in many plant species, approximately a quarter of plants in temperate regions do not follow this pattern. To investigate this inconsistency, my team has applied satellite images to track seasonal plant growth on the Tibetan Plateau between 1982 and 2006, and correlated the onset and end of steppe and meadow plant growth to monthly temperature data. Spring growth in both ecosystems began earlier from the early 1980s until the mid 1990s, but despite continued warming, plants delayed spring growth in the last decade. Though warmer temperatures also delayed the onset of winter cold, the region’s net growing season decreased by three weeks or more from 2000 to 2006. We surmise that warm winters may delay the fulfillment of plant chilling requirements, or the combination of time and cold that signals the arrival of spring.
(3) Mitigating climate change: A pro-growth pathway for reducing net GHG emissions in China
we concluded that a focused program to mitigate GHG emissions and sequester carbon in rural China could achieve an estimated net GHG emission reduction of 740 MtCO2 yr–1 from 2010-2030. This is equivalent to 14% of China’s total 2005 CO2 emissions from energy use. Activities in this rural climate program would include: reducing the overuse of nitrogen-based fertilizers; encouraging rural households to replace inefficient burning of biomass with more efficient energy sources; finding alternatives to agricultural residue burning; and sequestering carbon in agricultural soils, forests, and rangelands.
(4) Consequences of global change for transboundary rivers
The Mekong River is the longest watercourse in Southeast Asia. While China has an extensive hydropower program underway on the Upper Mekong, as yet there are no dams on the rivers’ lower mainstream. But up to twelve additional mainstream projects are proposed for the Lower Mekong. These would generate substantial energy and wealth for the beneficiaries. In combination with Chinese dams, this Lower Mekong hydropower cascade, if built, will also transform the river, altering natural flow patterns, disrupting fisheries and other ecosystem services, undercutting the livelihoods of millions of river-dependent people. New dams are driven by a host of factors: changing demographics, human development needs, energy and food security concerns, economic cooperation, climate change, and others. In this study, we linked these social, ecological, economic and political forces to ongoing issues in regional governance and discussed how to improve the quality of Mekong hydropower decision making in a complex transboundary setting.
(5) Hydrological response to global change
We applied the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to the study of land-cover/climate changes and their impacts on hydrological processes in mountain watersheds in SW China. The SWAT model predicted that downstream water resources would decrease in the short term but increase in the long term. Afforestation and expansion in cropland will probably increase actual evapotranspiration (ET) and reduce annual stream flow but will also, through increased infiltration, reduce the overland flow component of stream flow and increase groundwater release. An expansion in grassland will decrease actual ET, increase annual stream flow and groundwater release, while decreasing overland flow. Urbanization will result in increases in stream flow; overland flow and reductions in groundwater release and actual ET. Land-cover changes were found to be more influential than stream flow in mitigating the effects of climate change in the short and middle terms. The changes predicted by the buffer indicator for land-use and by the climate-change scenarios account for up to 50% of the current (and future) range of inter-annual variability.
(6) Societal and policy responses to global change
Policy makers must understand land use and ecosystem dynamics under global change in order to competently address a variety of pressing issues. Some policies, such as those creating protected areas and afforestation, directly affect land use and ecosystem services. Other policies affect land-based activities like agriculture or forestry. We examined the effectiveness and efficiency of current conservation approachs in China and proposed an integrated conservation approach with Chinese characteristics. We challenged the Chinese government’s forestry policies and called for a new forest management system with more efficient reward schemes for conservation. We demonstrated that participatory technology development is useful for livelihood development across multifunctional landscapes.

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