described the following projects, which were carried out during the Seventh Five-Year Plan (1986–1990):

  1. The collection, identification, and storage of forage grass germ plasm: Under a grant from the Ministry of Agriculture (3 million Renminbi [RMB] over five years, 1986–90), the institute led a nationwide program to collect, identify, catalog, and store forage germ plasm. Part of this grant paid universities and research institutes throughout the country to collect seed samples and send them to GRI, where the seeds have been propagated, identified, and stored in a temporary seed bank. The current inventory is 5500 samples from China and abroad. A permanent germ plasm storage bank, nearing completion in late 1990, will provide space for 12,000 varieties. Professor Jiang Youquan is director of the institute's forage germ plasm laboratory.

  2. Creation of a computerized germ plasm data base: Each sample added to the storage facility will be classified and tagged for 100 characteristics; this information will be entered into a computerized data bank. The data bank, which is in both English and Chinese, has been constructed, and the first items are now being entered by a young scholar who studied in the United Kingdom. The data is being loaded onto a free-standing personal computer. There is no network or system for data sharing at the present time.

  3. Using the method of stable isotopes to identify and analyze C3 and C4 grasses, assistant professor of plant physiology Lin Xiaoquan and his colleagues have collected 403 species from the Changbaishan region, identified 15 species of C4, 5 of CAM, and 180 of C3, and tested conditions, such as moisture and temperature, under which seeds will germinate.

  4. Experiments to improve deteriorated grasslands and studies of community succession: In eastern Inner Mongolia, the dominant species of grass has been restored by plowing, disking, and allowing land to lie fallow for three years. In central Inner Mongolia, where the soil is a dark chestnut, drier, looser, and more subject to erosion, and the annual precipitation is 250–300 mm, a more effective method has been to turn over less soil and leave more vegetation intact. In previously cultivated areas, artificial seeding has proved most effective. Areas previously planted with oats, exhausted, and abandoned 25–50 years ago, have shown an ability to recover after artificial reseeding.

  5. Breeding of drought-and disease-resistant legumes, such as Medicago ruthenica and Hedysarum mongolicum, that grow erect and have high productivity has yielded some favorable results in arid and semiarid grassland regions.

  6. Application of remote sensing to the study of north China grasslands: This project, under the direction of Professor Li Bo, has produced grassland and ecoregion maps of Inner Mongolia, which have been published by the Science Press.



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