13
Xinjiang

XINJIANG INSTITUTE OF BIOLOGY, PEDOLOGY, AND PSAMMOLOGY

Chinese name

Zhongguo kexueyuan Xinjiang shengwu turang shamo yanjiuso

Address

40 Beijing South Road, Urumqi 830011

Director

Xia Xuncheng

Telephone

0991-335642, 0991-335069

Fax

0991-335459

Telex

79172 XJSC CN

Cable

0060 Urumqi

The Xinjiang Institute of Biology, Pedology, and Psammology (IBPP), established in 1961, is one of eight institutes that make up the Xinjiang branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This institute, headed by director Xia Xuncheng, employs 287 persons, including 54 senior professors, organized into research groups for plant resources, plant physiology, plant ecology, zoology, microbiology, land resources, soil improvement, desert research, remote sensing, and biotechnology. The institute also maintains a wide range of experimental laboratories; a collection of more than 70,000 plant, animal, and soil specimens; and a large library. Five IBPP research stations—four in the Tianshan region (Muosuowan, Fukang, Bayinbuluke, and Turpan) and one (the Cele Desert Research Station) near Hetian on the southern edge of the Tarim Basin—support field work on a wide range of topics (Map 1-5). The institute publishes a scientific journal Ganhanqu yanjiu [Arid Zone Researh].



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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China 13 Xinjiang XINJIANG INSTITUTE OF BIOLOGY, PEDOLOGY, AND PSAMMOLOGY Chinese name Zhongguo kexueyuan Xinjiang shengwu turang shamo yanjiuso Address 40 Beijing South Road, Urumqi 830011 Director Xia Xuncheng Telephone 0991-335642, 0991-335069 Fax 0991-335459 Telex 79172 XJSC CN Cable 0060 Urumqi The Xinjiang Institute of Biology, Pedology, and Psammology (IBPP), established in 1961, is one of eight institutes that make up the Xinjiang branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This institute, headed by director Xia Xuncheng, employs 287 persons, including 54 senior professors, organized into research groups for plant resources, plant physiology, plant ecology, zoology, microbiology, land resources, soil improvement, desert research, remote sensing, and biotechnology. The institute also maintains a wide range of experimental laboratories; a collection of more than 70,000 plant, animal, and soil specimens; and a large library. Five IBPP research stations—four in the Tianshan region (Muosuowan, Fukang, Bayinbuluke, and Turpan) and one (the Cele Desert Research Station) near Hetian on the southern edge of the Tarim Basin—support field work on a wide range of topics (Map 1-5). The institute publishes a scientific journal Ganhanqu yanjiu [Arid Zone Researh].

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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China The IBPP's Division of Grassland Ecology, established in 1987, has a staff of 21 people, including 4 senior professors, under division chief Professor Zhang Liyun. Since the 1950s, Professor Zhang Dianmin has conducted surveys of grassland resources and other vegetation of western China, and has studied the physiological ecology of individual plants and native leguminous grasses. This division also carries out projects to increase the productivity of Xinjiang grasslands through the introduction of new species, irrigation, and other artificial methods. Recent projects have focused on the Bayinbuluke grassland and saline meadow in Hutubi. FUKANG DESERT ECOSYSTEM OBSERVATION AND EXPERIMENT STATION, CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Chinese name Fukang huangmo shengtai xitong guance shiyan zhan Address c/o Xinjiang Institute of Biology, Pedology, and Psammology, Urumqi Director Li Shugang The Fukang Desert Ecosystem Observation and Experiment Station, a branch of the Institute of Biology, Pedology, and Psammology, was established in 1987. Construction of the main buildings, which include dormitory, dining, meeting, and laboratory facilities, is now complete. Scientists from the IBPP have begun to collect data from four meteorological stations and to conduct research on the botanic community, pedology, and soil microbiology at this site, although the station will not formally open until 1991 or 1992, after which scholars from throughout China and abroad will be able to use the facilities. Professor Li Shugang is director of the Fukang station and vice director of the IBPP. Four meteorological observation posts, now in operation at the Fukang site, measure wind speed and direction at two heights; ground temperature at the surface and at depths of 5, 10 and 20 cm; air temperature; and precipitation. These posts are distributed along the gradient from the mountains to the desert, with a central post for collection and analysis of data. Fukang is one of the 10 key stations in the Chinese Ecological Research Network (CERN) and, together with the National Wildlife Reserve surrounding Heavenly Lake [Tianchi], forms a Man-and-the-Biosphere (MAB) Biological Reserve. The station is located in Fukang County (43°50'N, 87°45'E), 76 km northeast of Urumqi, where the Tianshan Mountains meet the Junggar Basin. This is a temperate desert climate zone, hot in summer (average 25.6°C in July), cold in winter (average –17°C in January), with 176 frost-free days per year. The average annual precipitation is 164 mm and the evaporation 2000 mm.

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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China The station lies at the bottom of a drainage system, 450 m above sea level, which runs from the glacier atop Bogdad Peak (5445 m), down the Sangong River valley on the north face of the Tianshan, through the Fukang oasis, to the desert. A major feature of this system is Heavenly Lake, located in a coniferous forest at 1911 m. Above the lake is alpine meadow, and below is grassland steppe, which gives way to the sparser desert grassland [huangmo]. A large oasis provides water for extensive irrigation of the alluvial fan at the foot of the mountain. The research station lies below this oasis, 10 km from the sand desert to the north. The distance from Tianchi to the desert is 80 km. Beginning in the Han Dynasty (ca. 200 B.C.), the Fukang oasis was one stop on the northern route of the Silk Road. A modern oasis, created by irrigation, lies north of the old oasis and the county seat of Fukang. Because of its proximity to Urumqi, Fukang County has grown rapidly in recent years, and economic development has increased the pressure on local resources. In 1990 the county had a population of 110,000 in an area of more than 8000 km2. The territory includes 670,000 hectares of grassland, of which 530,000 hectares are ''usable'' but in poor condition. In recent years, the supply of water to this region has been reduced and the remainder subject to greater demand. Two factors have caused the water level in Tianchi to fall by 3 m: first, Nanjiang County, on the southern side of the Bogdad Peak, opened a canal to the river that feeds the Tianchi, diverting water to the other side of the mountain; second, construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Tianchi required a further lowering of the lake outlet. Meanwhile, the growth of Fukang and neighboring counties has increased the demand for water for agriculture, industry, and household consumption. The combined effect has been to reduce the amount of water that reaches the lower end of the system, decreasing the productivity of forage grasses and hastening the degradation of dune vegetation at the edge of the Junggar Basin. The entire system, top to bottom, appears overgrazed. The main cause of overgrazing has been the increase in human population and the corresponding rise in numbers of sheep, goats, cattle, and horses, especially in areas surrounding Urumqi and other towns and cities. In the normal annual cycle, livestock are moved from the desert in winter to alpine meadow in summer. The herders are mostly Kazakh, who move with their flocks from permanent homes in winter to mobile, felt-covered yurts in summer. Changes in energy resources have had significant, albeit uneven effects on the Fukang environment. Expansion of coal production has reduced the cutting of firewood in the desert, which has helped to stabilize the dunes. Conversely, the building of the hydropower dam lowered the level of the Tianchi, reducing the water available to vegetate the system, particularly in the desert. The discovery of oil east of Fukang has been a welcome addition to the regional energy supply, but construction of a new city to develop and manage the oil fields has put further pressure on water resources.

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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China The mission of the Fukang station is to study the impact of these environmental changes on the desert, including the desert grasslands, and to experiment with measures to deal with the problems. The main challenge here, as elsewhere, is degradation—how to slow and, if possible, reverse it. Scholars at Fukang have begun to study nutrient and energy cycling in the desert oasis ecosystem, build models for rangeland agriculture, construct artificial grasslands, and develop other grassland improvement techniques. Xinjiang August 1st Agricultural College Chinese name Xinjiang bayi nongxueyuan Address 42 Nanchang Road, Urumqi 830052 President Xu Peng Telephone (514) 210791, 413001, 413011 Cable 2470 Urumqi The Xinjiang August 1st Agricultural College is one of three institutions of higher learning under the Ministry of Agriculture that has a department of grassland science. This college, founded in 1952, now employs 800 full-time faculty, including 200 senior professors, and enrolls 3100 undergraduates, 100 graduate students, and 1000 students in adult education. They are organized into ten departments—agronomy, horticulture, plant protection, forestry, grassland science, animal husbandry, veterinary medicine, hydrotechnical engineering, agricultural engineering, agriculture, and animal products processing—and nine research institutes, including an Institute for Exploitation and Utilization of Grassland Resources, and an Institute for Grassland Protection. The president of the college, Professor Xu Peng, is one of China's leading grassland scientists. The vice president, Mme. Halima Naserwa, is a Uighur. Minorities account for 60% of undergraduates and 30% of the faculty. The Department of Grassland Science, established in 1984, employs 30 full-time faculty, including department chairman Shi Dingsui, and enrolls more than 200 undergraduates (half of them minorities) and 4 graduate students. Major programs at the graduate level include cultivating and breeding of forage, grassland ecology and management, and grassland protection. Professor Liu Fangzheng is head of the department of plant protection. Professor Min Jichun is head of the forage breeding teaching and research group. Since 1964 the college has carried out 13 major research projects in the field of grassland science, including a survey of Xinjiang grassland resources; a study of spring-autumn succession of mountain grassland; remote sensing of grasslands; developing an optimal model for desert grasslands; a study of native cultivars, including nine varieties of wild alfalfa; breeding of six types of alfalfa and sagebrush; and a survey of grassland pests, including grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, larvae, ladybugs, and rodents.

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Grasslands and Grassland Sciences in Northern China The college has a large, well-stocked laboratory building, filled with state-of-the art computers and instruments acquired with the support of a loan from the World Bank. The program in remote sensing uses both photographic and digital Multispectral Scanner (MSS) data, but not Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR). The available hardware, a Microvax-2, is suitable, although there is a shortage of processing software.

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