is a national program on phenomena driven, in part, by global mechanisms. Within China, there seems to be more progress in the north, particularly on lands surrounding and including grasslands, than in the far northeast or south. Much of the work under way is in the category of historical analysis.

China does not appear to have a comprehensive or interinstitutionally systematic monitoring system. CAS has launched a major program to create a network of ecological stations that will have monitoring functions (Chapter 4). SMA has over a thousand monitoring stations. NEPA has hundreds of various types of monitoring stations and is implementing a national monitoring system. Various ministries, such as the Ministry of Agriculture, monitor resources under their jurisdiction.

It would be useful to nurture modeling efforts that use more mechanistic approaches to modeling the relationships between vegetation and soils (as the elements of land cover) and climate and land use. The panel did not find that such activity is planned, even though this is key for global change research. The obvious importance to policy makers will lie in having predictive descriptions of land cover change.

In China, extensive land cover changes have already occurred and are ongoing today. Much of this is driven by land use change rather than by changing climate per se. Many components are available to develop a focused land cover change program in China: maps, remote sensing, historical records, and some modeling capacity. This is an area in which some catalytic action through international collaboration could make a big difference.

Additionally, as in other countries, an entirely different genre of social science models is needed for predicting how land use would be likely to change in response to climate, population, economic, and technological change scenarios. Furthermore, land cover change research must have strong ties to research on the human dimensions of global change, which, in the case of China, is an area of great relevance and potential.

NOTES

1.  

In China, it is common for individual institutes to publish journals of the institute's research work, often without external peer review. It is notable, though, that some journals are now accepting substantial numbers of papers from outside institutes.

2.  

In June 1992, a workshop on Asian dust was organized by Richard Arimoto, University of Rhode Island, that brought together more than 30 scientists from China, Japan, and the United States to report on recent research and to discuss future cooperative studies.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement