12
Gansu and Qinghai

GANSU AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY, DEPARTMENT OF GRASSLAND SCIENCE

Chinese

Gansu nongye daxue caoyuanxi

Address

1 Yingmentan, Anning District, Lanzhou 730070

Chairman

Hu Zizhi

Telephone

66011, 66667

Cable

6460 Lanzhou

The formal study of rangelands in Gansu and Qinghai (Map 1-4) began in the early 1950s, when a forage division was established in the Northwest College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine in Lanzhou. In 1958, Northwest College moved to Wuwei, also in Gansu, and became Gansu Agricultural University (GAU); in 1968, GAU moved back to Lanzhou. Today, the university has more than 500 teachers, 2000 undergraduates and nearly 100 graduate students in 12 departments. It is one of the three universities under the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) that includes a department of grassland science.

The GAU Department of Grassland Science has 43 professional staff, including 13 senior professors, organized into 10 teaching and research divisions, which include grassland survey and planning, range ecology, range management, rodent control, forage pathology, insect pest control, fodder crop breeding and cultivation, plant taxonomy, grassland ecochemistry, and turf culture. Enrollment in 1990 was 120 undergraduates, 23 master's candidates and 1 Ph.D. candidate. The department has a wide range of experimental



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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China 12 Gansu and Qinghai GANSU AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY, DEPARTMENT OF GRASSLAND SCIENCE Chinese Gansu nongye daxue caoyuanxi Address 1 Yingmentan, Anning District, Lanzhou 730070 Chairman Hu Zizhi Telephone 66011, 66667 Cable 6460 Lanzhou The formal study of rangelands in Gansu and Qinghai (Map 1-4) began in the early 1950s, when a forage division was established in the Northwest College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine in Lanzhou. In 1958, Northwest College moved to Wuwei, also in Gansu, and became Gansu Agricultural University (GAU); in 1968, GAU moved back to Lanzhou. Today, the university has more than 500 teachers, 2000 undergraduates and nearly 100 graduate students in 12 departments. It is one of the three universities under the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) that includes a department of grassland science. The GAU Department of Grassland Science has 43 professional staff, including 13 senior professors, organized into 10 teaching and research divisions, which include grassland survey and planning, range ecology, range management, rodent control, forage pathology, insect pest control, fodder crop breeding and cultivation, plant taxonomy, grassland ecochemistry, and turf culture. Enrollment in 1990 was 120 undergraduates, 23 master's candidates and 1 Ph.D. candidate. The department has a wide range of experimental

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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China laboratories and equipment, including labs for grassland agronomy, protection and improvement; turf culture; and wild animals, but it has only one computer and little software. A new building, begun in 1986, is still under construction. The department was founded in 1970 by Professor Ren Jizhou, now director of the Gansu Grassland Ecological Research Institute (GGERI). In 1989 the department, now chaired by Professor Hu Zizhi, and the institute were selected jointly as a "key" institution, and Professor Ren was chosen as academic leader in the field of grassland science. The department and the institute cooperate closely in research, training, and advising the government on matters of grassland development. They describe themselves as "one institution under different leadership." The department maintains three research stations. The Tianzhu Alpine Grassland Experimental Station, established in 1956 in Tianzhu County near the Qinghai border, conducts research on grassland monitoring, protection, and improvement. The Wuwei Herbage Experimental Station, established in 1975 in the arid region of Wuwei County, is a center for production of seeds adapted for saline soils, breeding of herbage plants, and research on desert grasses. The Lanzhou Herbage Experimental Station, located in Lanzhou, is a center for research on herbage and turf plant breeding and seed production. The department and GGERI jointly edit three journals: Pratacultural Science [Caoye kexue], Acta Pratacultura Sinica [Zhongguo caoye xuebao ], and Journal of Grassland and Forage Abroad. LANZHOU INSTITUTE OF DESERT RESEARCH, ACADEMIA SINICA Chinese Zhongguo kexueyuan Lanzhou shamo yanjiuso Address 14 Donggang West Road, Lanzhou 730000 Director Zhu Zhenda Telephone 26720, 26725 Telex 72149 ICERD CN Cable 3097 Lanzhou The Lanzhou Institute of Desert Research (IDR), established in 1978, has a staff of 200 scientific and technical personnel, organized into seven divisions. The director of the institute is Professor Zhu Zhenda. The Division of Agricultural Resources in Desert Regions is responsible for the study of grazing lands. Professors Huang Zhaohua and Gao Zianzhao, as well as other scholars in this division, are engaged in research on rangeland management and the related fields of plant ecology and geobotany, plant physiology, plant taxonomy, pedology, hydrology, remote sensing, and soil microbiology. According to IDR's own estimates, in 1986, 1.5 million km2, or 15.5% of

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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China China's total land surface, was covered by desert, gobi, or desertified land. Over the past half century, China's deserts have been expanding at the rate of 1000 km2 per year. In all, 176,000 km2 of land in north China have been desertified. Most of this land, already desert or in the process of desertification, lies in a broad "transition zone," from the Daxinganling Mountains in the east to Xinjiang in the west, north of China's agricultural belt to the borders of Mongolia and the Soviet Union. This region includes 267,000 km2 of rangeland and 11 million people in 81 counties. The mission of the institute is to study the formation and character of desert regions and to experiment with means for predicting, preventing, and reversing the process of desertification. The IDR maintains three major research stations. The Shapotou Desert Experiment and Research Station, established in 1956, at the southeast edge of the Tengger Desert (37°27'N, 104°57'E), has done notable work in agricultural development and sand dune fixation. The Linze Sandland Utilization Experiment Station, established in 1975, on the north side of the Linze Oasis in the Hexi Corridor (39°20'N, 100°09'E), conducts studies and experiments on the prevention of desertification at the oasis periphery and the introduction of sand-holding species. The Naiman Desertification Rehabilitation Experiment and Research Station, located in Naiman Banner, Inner Mongolia (42°58'N, 120°42'E), a transition zone between dry farming and grazing at the southwest corner of the Horqin [Keerqin] Steppe, focuses on the origins, development, and processes for reversing desertification of the steppe margin zone. Two other stations—in Yanchi County, Ningxia, and Fengning County, Hebei—also study methods for rehabilitating and improving desertified rangeland. Prior to 1985, IDR undertook several expeditions and surveys of desert rangelands in Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, and Gansu. Since 1985 the institute has conducted three major research projects relating to desert rangelands. Experiments with desertification control and rehabilitation in Naiman Banner, conducted in cooperation with the Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries, include study of the vegetation of this region to determine above-and below-ground biomass, dynamics, and photosynthesis in different habitats. Data have been collected from 80 observation stations and 10 permanent sites. The results have been published in Desertification and Rehabilitation—Case Study in Horqin Sandy Land, edited by Zhu Zhenda (Lanzhou: Institute of Desert Research, Academia Sinica, August 1988). A project on the control and rehabilitation of desertified lands in Yanchi County includes the monitoring of productivity of vegetation in 23 permanent sites (9 on sand land, 4 on lowland, 10 on high plateau); experimentation with rangeland improvement in different habitats, mainly drifting sands and degraded vegetation; and the introduction of more than 40 species of forage plants to improve or control rangeland quality. Finally, as part of its project on "Optimum Ecological Modeling of Rangeland in Maowusu" (see section on the Institute

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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China of Botany, Chapter 9), the Institute of Desert Research has studied the water physiology of several major forage plants and characterized the biology and ecology of natural sandland plants. The institute publishes two quarterly scientific journals: the Journal of Desert Research and World Desert Studies, both of which appear in Chinese with English abstracts. GANSU GRASSLAND ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE Chinese Gansu caoyuan shengtai yanjiuso Address P.O. Box 61, Lanzhou 730020 Director Ren Jizhou Telephone 498719, 498187 Fax (0931) 497553 Telex 72109 BTHLZ CN Cable 5430 Lanzhou The Gansu Grassland Ecological Research Institute was established in 1981, by Professor Ren Jizhou, under the joint sponsorship of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Gansu provincial government. In 1989 the institute and the Department of Grassland Science of Gansu Agricultural University (see above) were selected jointly as a key institution in the field of grassland science. The two units cooperate closely in all aspects of training and research. The institute has a staff of 98, including 11 full professors, and maintains a national network of 50 researchers from institutions throughout China. One-third of the scientists and technicians have been trained or received working experience overseas. Research at GGERI has focused on grassland farming systems, agricultural economics, remote sensing, range ecophysiology, grassland desalinization, grassland ecochemistry, ruminant nutrition, forage and turf pathology, forage seed science and technology, and turf management. Also established under the auspices of the institute are a seed testing station and the Lantai Turf Development Company, which offers services in the selection, breeding, and production of turf grass seeds and turf grass development and management. Several of China's sports stadiums are covered with turf laid down by this company. The mission of GGERI is to conduct research, train experts, publish books and journals, carry out extension services, and provide advice to the government on the interlocking problems of grassland production and degradation through a broad ecological systems approach. Professor Ren attributes the serious state of grassland degradation to overstocking, which he estimates at 15–20% in Inner Mongolia, Gansu, and Tibet. One goal of the institute is to obtain accurate data on this problem and persuade the government of its importance. The second challenge is to increase grassland and livestock

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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China production. GGERI research aims at reducing the damage done by erosion, salinization, and desertification and finding ways to increase and sustain grassland production. The solution to both problems depends on a broad view of natural and social systems. Therefore, GGERI has established divisions for systems modeling and remote sensing, which Ren considers the keys to future ecological studies in China. GGERI maintains four research stations (plus one in cooperation with the GAU Department of Grassland Science). Work at these stations, focuses on the application of scientific methods to increase production, protect the environment, and promote the adoption of more effective research techniques: At the Qingyang Loess Plateau Experimental Station, located in Qingyang County in eastern Gansu, Professor Zhang Zihe and his team, in collaboration with the Biosystems Research Group of Texas A&M University, have applied the Integrated Rate Method (IRM) to model the loess plateau farming system. Their recent projects include: (a) control of erosion by testing and comparing grasses for stability on slopeland and providing local farmers with advice on planting and maintaining stable pastures; (b) promotion of pastoral farming, carried out in cooperation with an Australian team, by providing one cow to a farming family in exchange for the first two calves, which are then passed on to other recipients in a "snowball" process; and (c) establishing artificial grassland, which has led to an increase in the number of animals and the production of manure, vital for enriching organic-poor loess soil. The Jingtai Grassland Agricultural Experimental Station is located in Jingtai County, the site of an oasis grassland farming system in a transition zone between the Qinghai plateau and the desert. This is an area of intense irrigation, provided by pumping water from the Yellow River, a practice that has raised production, but also increased salinization and promoted the spread of insects and disease to wheat. Trials carried out at this site by Professor Ge Wenhua and his colleagues show that shifting from annual cropping to a two-year, four-crop cycle—spring wheat, sweet clover (for animal feed), and maize interspersed with soybean—has more than doubled output, reduced salinization and eliminated disease to wheat. Sweet clover is fed to sheep and rabbits; sheep dung is put on maize. Research at the Zhangye Saline Soil Grassland and Animal Production Experimental Station, located in Zhangye County in the Hexi Corridor, includes pen feeding of sheep, development of artificial grassland on hillsides, and other projects designed to combine economic development and environmental protection. Data from these studies are being used to construct an optimal model for grassland and animal production at oases and adjacent regions in the Hexi Corridor. The Guizhou Plateau Grassland Experimental Station is located in Weining County, near the Guizhou-Yunnan border in southwest China. At

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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China an elevation of 2400 m, this area is too cold for agriculture but suitable for animal husbandry. GGERI scientists are testing more than 200 varieties of grass for stability on slopeland and suitability to local conditions and have built exclosures to measure grazing intensity. A collaborative project between GGERI and the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory of Colorado State University aims at developing an optimal model for animal husbandry in Linze County. Linze County in the Hexi Corridor is a highly irrigated, high-yield agricultural area. However, rapid population growth in this county (46% from 1961–1974) has resulted in a decline in per capita output, while excessive pressure on land has caused widespread salinization and desertification. Although agriculture in this area has been overdeveloped, animal husbandry remains underdeveloped, which provides an opportunity for increasing production while relieving environmental stress. GGERI has conducted experiments in Linze to develop and promote a variety of the salt-resistant grass Puccinellia. Local farmers, at first hesitant to accept the new variety, were supplied seeds and techniques, and gradually came to accept them. Eventually, more than 1100 farm families joined the project. After three years, the salinity of soil planted in Puccinellia was reduced by 85–90%. The grass can be fed directly to beef cattle or used to improve soil for production of wheat or sugar beets. Professor Zhu Xingyun is now developing an optimal model for grassland production in the Hexi Corridor, using data gathered at the Linze site. Professor Ren and the staff of GGERI have pioneered the introduction of new techniques for the study of China's grasslands. In one such effort, Professor Chen Quangong, with a five-year grant of 1.2 million Renminbi (RMB) from the Ministry of Agriculture, is developing the use of remote sensing. This project, which will monitor the degradation of grasslands in an area extending from Heilongjiang in the northeast to Tibet in the southwest, combines data from satellite and ground stations with data processing capability at GGERI. In July 1990, Chen held a training program for technicians from the project's 12 field stations. GGERI plans to acquire a personal computer system to link local stations and a more powerful computer to process the data received. The purpose of this five-year project is to develop a methodology that can be applied to a national network planned for the late 1990s. The GGERI research program has been supported by grants from four major sources. The national government has supported the demonstration project in Guizhou and the desert farming system in the Hexi Corridor. The Ministry of Agriculture has paid for studies of farming in the loess meadow, information measurement for a national computer base, and 12 field stations to monitor grassland resources in the arid and semiarid areas of north China. Gansu Province funded the study of the farming system in Jingtai County.

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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China International partners, including Colorado State University, Texas A&M University, Australian and New Zealand government agencies, the United Nations Development Program, and CARE, have supplied matching funds for joint projects. Much of this research is published in GGERI's own journals: Pratacultural Science [Caoye kexue], Pratacultural Science of China [Zhongguo caoye kexue], Acta Pratacultura Sinica [Zhongguo caoye xuebao], and Grassland and Forage of China [Zhongguo caoyuan yu mucao]. The institute also conducts programs to train graduate students from the Department of Grassland Science of Gansu Agricultural University and runs one-to three-year courses for technicians assigned by the Ministry of Agriculture and various provincial governments. LANZHOU UNIVERSITY, DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY, ECOLOGY RESEARCH LABORATORY Chinese Lanzhou daxue shengwuxuexi shengtai yanjiuso Address 78 Tianshui Road, Lanzhou Chairman Zheng Rongliang Telephone 28111 Telex 72144 MDLZU CN Cable 6580 Lanzhou Lanzhou University, which has been a key university since 1952, is one of the leading institutions of higher learning in western China. The university has 1300 teachers and researchers, more than 8000 students, and offers courses in 22 departments and a wide range of special programs. The Department of Biology includes 31 senior professors, and it grants bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in several fields, including ecology. The Ecological Research Laboratory, chaired by Professor Zheng Rongliang, is located in the Department of Biology and, as its name implies, is responsible for research and advanced training in topics related to the preservation and use of natural resources. Scholars in the Ecological Research Laboratory have conducted research on alpine and subalpine meadows; steppe and desert grasslands, including grassland succession, particularly secondary succession of abandoned agricultural fields and overgrazed grasslands in southwest Gansu; degradation of artificial grasslands in southwest Gansu; and degradation of desert areas in the Hexi Corridor. Current research focuses on community structure of secondary succession fields in alpine and subalpine meadows of southwest Gansu, where natural conditions, notably adequate water supply, hold greatest promise for increasing grassland production. The laboratory also supports work in areas related to grasslands, such as remote sensing, ecosystem analysis, ecological modeling, and plant taxonomy.

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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China NORTHWEST PLATEAU INSTITUTE OF BIOLOGY, ACADEMIA SINICA Chinese Zhongguo kexueyuan xibei gaoyuan shengwu yanjiuso Address 78 Xiguan Street, Xining 810001 Director Wang Zuwang Deputy director Du Jizeng Telephone (0971) 43895, 43619 Cable 4430 Xining The Northwest Plateau Institute of Biology, founded in 1962, in Xining, Qinghai, is headed by director Wang Zuwang and has a staff of 280, including 50 full and associate professors. Vice director Du Jizeng described the six departments of the institute and their research priorities, as follows: (1) botany—taxonomy of plants and botanical geography; (2) zoology—taxonomy of animals, including birds, mammals, fish, and insects, and physiology and adaptation of animals to plateau ecology; (3) ecology—research on ecological systems, including population studies; (4) rodent control—behavior and control of rodents; (5) crop breeding—spring wheat selection; and (6) plant chemistry—plateau resources for medicinal plants. Scholars at this institute have done extensive research on rangeland vegetation, domestic livestock, wildlife, and range ecology in the Qinghai-Tibetan alpine grasslands. The institute publishes three journals: Acta Theriologica Sinica [Shoulei xuebao ], Acta Biological Plateau Sinica [Gaoyuan shengwuxue jikan], and Theses of Haibei Research Station. HAIBEI ALPINE MEADOW ECOSYSTEM RESEARCH STATION Chinese Haibei gaohan caodian shengtai xitong dingweizhan Address c/o Northwest Plateau Institute of Biology, Xining Codirectors Pi Nanlin and Zhou Xingmin The Haibei Research Station, which was established in May 1976 by the Northwest Plateau Institute of Biology and opened to outside researchers in 1987, is headed by codirectors, Professors Pi Nanlin and Zhou Xingmin. The principal mission of the station is to study the character of the alpine meadow, its productivity, and its ability to sustain animal husbandry. Current funding comes exclusively from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The station is located in Menyuan Hui Autonomous County, 160 km north of Xining, in a mountain basin (elevation 3200 m) south of the Qilian Mountain range and astride the Xining-Zhangye highway, the major trade route between Qinghai and Gansu provinces. This site is typical alpine meadow. The mean annual temperature is –2.0°C, and mean annual precipitation 500

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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China mm. The soils are alpine shrub, alpine meadow, and swamp soils, rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Vegetation consists mainly of Kobresia meadows with Potentilla fruticosa shrubs, which have an aboveground net primary production of 190–340 g/m2 per year. Plant nutrient content is reputed to be high. Facilities at the Haibei station include dormitories with central heating and communal showers and a common dining facility. There are laboratories for zoology, botany, microbiology, pedology, and stock physioecology; an exhibition room; and one meteorological observation station. The station has electricity and telephone to Xining, but no computer facilities. During the summer months, 40 Chinese research workers in the fields of zoology, botany, pedology, microbiology, meteorology, plant chemistry, and mathematics work at the station. It is the principal training site for graduate students majoring in ecology at the Northwest Plateau Institute. Work is possible during the winter months, but generally limited due to the harsh conditions in this area of China. The Haibei station is situated at the center of an agricultural/pastoral collective, the Menyuan Machang [Menyuan Horse Farm], which was organized into a brigade (the level below a commune) during collectivization in the 1950s. The land occupied by the brigade was formerly a stud ranch established in the 1930s to provide horses for the Chinese Nationalist army. The brigade covers approximately 400 km2 (Xia, 1988), including both agricultural (oats, barley, and rape [Brassica campestris]) and pastoral (yak and sheep) production. About 260 km 2 are dedicated to rangeland livestock production, and nearly 46 km2 to hay (oats and barley). There are 40 pastoralist households, which are mainly Tibetan. Agricultural workers are mostly of the Hui, a Muslim minority. Under the rural reforms of 1985, the collective was disassembled, and each household received about 300 sheep, 50–100 yaks, a few horses, and 3000 mu (15 mu equals 1 hectare) of winter pasture, which has been turned over to private use but remains titled to the brigade. Sheep herds are generally 3–3.5 times the size of yak herds, although yak and sheep have nearly equal forage demand. Horses, although much less important economically, are still raised by the brigade. Each household maintains a fodder field of 20–30 mu (1–2 hectares), most of which have been planted in oats with seeds supplied and subsidized by the brigade administration. Seed varieties presently in use were evaluated and recommended by scientists at the Haibei station. Summer pasture, which is located in the mountains and some distance from the permanent settlements in the valley, is grazed communally. In fact, most of the pastoralists take their sheep herds off summer pasture in midsummer to trespass on other collective farms on the north face of the Qilian Mountains in Gansu Province. Although grazing times are regulated and strictly enforced within the brigade, trespassing both by and against the brigade is common and tolerated. The

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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China major environmental and economic problem in this region, as elsewhere in China, is said to be degradation of the grasslands, caused by overgrazing and, in this case, the influence of burrowing rodents (Liu et al., 1982), especially the zokor (Myospalax baileyi). Under contracts signed for the procurement of livestock and land from the former brigade, herding households must deliver 6% of their livestock each year to government agents, for which they receive a fixed below-market price. Surplus animals and animal products may be sold on the open market, which expanded steadily during the reforms of the mid-1980s. Since 1988, however, Beijing has tightened controls on markets for major animal products—wool, cashmere, meat, and hides. The government monopolizes wholesaling, and informants at Haibei agree that at present there is little possibility of selling more than an odd lamb or skin through the private market. During the past 14 years, the research agenda of the Haibei station has included studies of basic vegetation structure and function, plant chemistry and physiology, wild and domestic animals, insects, soil, microbiology, mathematical ecology, and systems analysis. The station also conducts applied studies designed to help reduce damage to, and raise productivity of, the grasslands. To date, more than 70 Chinese and 30 foreign scholars from eight countries, have carried out 42 major research projects at this site. During a one and one-half day visit to the Haibei station, codirector Zhou Xingmin showed the CSCPRC delegation several field experiments. In a grazing intensity study begun in 1987, a series of enclosed areas has been subjected to controlled grazing by sheep, and measurements have been taken to determine the impact on vegetation productivity and composition, soil, livestock, rodents, and other factors. An elaborate rodent control study is being carried out in a large, flat field that has been divided into eight pens, 1 mu each, separated by sheet metal walls that extend 80 cm below ground surface. The pens are stocked with fixed numbers of root voles (Microtus oeconomus), a small burrowing rodent. Experimental factors that are tested are the effects of (1) raptor predation, which is controlled by the presence or absence of a net covering the pen; and (2) grazing, which is conducted by using different densities of sheep. Experiments measure nutrition, rate of reproduction, growth and spread of rodents, and effect of predation. Finally, rangeland improvement trials are being carried out in areas that have been degraded by zokor burrowing and subterranean foraging. After one season, areas that have been fenced off and artificially seeded showed rapid recovery compared with grass outside the fence. During the summer of 1990, Dr. Richard Cincotta of Utah State University conducted research at the Haibei station with Professors Zhou Xingmin and Zhang Yanqing (Northwest Plateau Institute of Biology) to determine (1) herd dynamics, livestock death, and investment in management by household interviews (10 families); (2) the cycle of age-and sex-dependent sheep weight

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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China gains and losses through periodic weighing; (3) plant community dynamics under disturbance of zokors; and (4) response to induced manipulations of seasonal climate. Also in the summer of 1990, Dean Biggins, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife biologist, collaborated with Professor Zhou Wenyang to conduct a radio collar study of ferret (Mustela eversmanni) and weasel (M. altaica) movement. REFERENCES Liu Jike, Liang Jierong, Zhou Xingmin, and Li Jianhua. 1982. The communities and density of rodents in the region of Haibei Research Station of Alpine Meadow Ecosystem. Pp. 34–42 in Alpine Meadow Ecosystem, Xia Wuping, ed. Lanzhou: Gansu People's Publishing House. Xia Wuping. 1988. A brief introduction to the fundamental characteristics and work in Haibei Research Station of Alpine Meadow Ecosystem. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Alpine Meadow Ecosystems. Xining: Chinese Academy of Sciences. Zhou Xingmin, Pi Nanling, Zhao Xingquan, Zhang Songling, and Zhao Duohu. 1986. A preliminary study on optimum stocking rate in an alpine meadow. Acta Biologica Plateau Sinica 5:21–34.

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