of Russia (1870–1885). From that time on, Russian studies of the vegetation of Inner Mongolia made important contributions to grassland research and grassland science in China. In the early twentieth century, Japanese scholars carried out extensive surveys of Inner Mongolian plant life.
European and American scientists have done less work in this area. An extensive survey by Europeans, conducted between 1927 and 1935, produced more than 50 volumes on various biological subjects. From 1913 to 1915, A. Sowervy, from the Natural History Museum of New York, surveyed the fauna of eastern Inner Mongolia. A paleontological expedition, led by Roy Andrews and representing the same museum, visited north China, Inner Mongolia, and southern Mongolia in 1918 and 1919. In 1923, the American R. Wulsin organized a scientific expedition to survey the people, plants and animals of Gansu and Inner Mongolia. In 1935, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent a work team to Inner Mongolia to collect seeds of drought-resistant grasses that might be adaptable on the prairies of the southwestern United States. In recent years, several cooperative projects between Chinese and Western scholars have focused on the Inner Mongolia grasslands. The American rangeland ecologist George Van Dyne visited Inner Mongolia in 1980. Other ecologists from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan have visited or worked on the Xilingele grasslands since the late 1970s.
In the 1930s, Chinese scholars began to study the flora and fauna of Inner Mongolia. Several surveys, organized by government agencies, scientific associations, and universities, have been conducted since the early 1950s. After the founding of Inner Mongolia University in 1957, the university's department of biology selected the Baiyinxile State Farm as the site of its field experimental station. In 1963, the State Science and Technology Commission decided to set up the Experimental Research Center for Modern Grassland Husbandry in Xilingele. From 1964 to 1965, 70 scholars from Inner Mongolia University, Inner Mongolia College of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Nanjing University, the Institute of Botany, the Experimental Research Center for Modern Grassland Husbandry, and other work units carried out a large-scale, integrated survey of this area. Based on this survey, Li Bo and others compiled the report "Vegetation and Grassland Resources of Xilingele Farm Region," one of the most comprehensive and detailed studies of its kind. Because of disruptions caused by the Cultural Revolution, this report was not distributed until 1975 and then only for internal reference. In 1977, Inner Mongolia University established the first plant ecology major offered by a Chinese university since the 1960s, and 24 students were enrolled. These students and their professors have played an important role in China's grassland research. In 1979 the Baiyinxile State Farm was chosen as the site of the Inner Mongolia Grassland Ecosystem Research Station. Shortly thereafter, China's first grassland nature reserve was set up in the same area.