The institute is involved in interdisciplinary research programs within China and has active international programs with laboratories in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. A major global change study is centered in the Laboratory for Quantitative Ecology, which is described in detail in other sections of this report that detail activities in the Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE) Core Project, land cover change, and biogeochemistry (Chapters 4 and 5). Zhang Xinshi will be working with Zheng Du, CAS Institute of Geography, on a multi-institute, multidisciplinary project, "The study of the Origin, Evolution, Environmental Change and Ecosystems of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau," which is funded by the State Science and Technology Commission (SSTC).
Other sections of the institute offer important academic support for the global change effort. For example, the photosynthesis research group, well known for its work on chloroplast membrane structure and biophysics, is planning to participate in climate-vegetation studies by taking part in the construction of models of photosynthesis, regulation of stomatal conductance, and respiration.
Institute researchers are clearly taking an important role in the Chinese global change program and are anticipating an expanding role, particularly in the study of climate-vegetation interactions.
The Institute of Geography is large and has an extensive mission, including studies of climate, natural resources, economics, and paleoclimate. Under joint sponsorship of CAS and the State Planning Commission (SPC) since 1986, the institute serves as a principal source of geographic data on physical, biological, and economic resources of China, as well as maintaining basic research on natural and cultural resources, information science, and global change.
The institute, under the leadership of Zuo Dakang, has 13 departments, four laboratories, and the National Key Laboratory of Resources and Environment Information Systems (LREIS), which has links to other domestic and foreign institutes. The institute administers two CERN stations: the Yucheng Integrated Experiment Station in Shandong Province focuses on water balance involving moisture exchange in the soil-plant-atmospheric system, and the Beijing Agroecology Experiment Station focuses on the regularity of energy transformation and substance migration of farmland and agroforestry systems in North China and the interrelation of growth and yield formation of crops and woods.