Cli­mate re­search from China pub­lished

China Daily - - CHINA - By ZHANG ZHIHAO zhangzhi­hao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China has be­come a world leader in car­bon-re­lated cli­mate and eco­log­i­cal re­search, sci­en­tists said on Tues­day, adding that re­cent dis­cov­er­ies will help other coun­tries ef­fec­tively mit­i­gate car­bon emis­sions and tackle cli­mate change on a greater scale.

Key dis­cov­er­ies in­clude di­rectly prov­ing that largescale eco­log­i­cal restora­tion projects can im­prove an ecosys­tem’s abil­ity to ab­sorb car­bon gas and slow rates of cli­mate warm­ing on a na­tional scale, ac­cord­ing to find­ings pub­lished on Tues­day in the Pro­ceed­ings of the Na­tional Academy of Sciences, an in­ter­na­tional sci­ence jour­nal.

Chi­nese sci­en­tists were the first to prove on a na­tional scale that in­creas­ing bio­di­ver­sity can im­prove ecosys­tems’ pro­duc­tiv­ity and in­crease the amount of car­bon gas their soil can store, the jour­nal said.

They were also the first to find that ecosys­tem pro­duc­tiv- ity is pos­i­tively cor­re­lated with veg­e­ta­tion’s nu­tri­ent re­serves on a na­tional scale.

The re­search was done on China’s four ma­jor ter­res­trial ecosys­tems — for­est, grass­land, shrub land and farm­land — and sam­ples were col­lected through­out China over a fiveyear pe­riod, said Fang Jingyun, aca­demic di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Botany at the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences, who was the lead­ing sci­en­tist be­hind the project.

More than 350 sci­en­tists col­lected data from around 600,000 sam­ples taken from more than 17,000 plots of land, mak­ing it the largest field sur­vey eco­log­i­cal project in the world, Fang said.

“It is the first time for an Asian coun­try to fea­ture re­search find­ings of this mag­ni­tude in the PNAS,” he said.

“This shows that China has be­come a world leader in fields re­lated to the car­bon cy­cle, global cli­mate change and ecol­ogy.”

The project has ex­panded the aca­demic scope of eco­log­i­cal sci­ence, cre­ated in­valu­able data for more ac­cu­rate en­vi­ron­ment eval­u­a­tion and bol­stered China’s in­flu­ence in ne­go­ti­at­ing cli­mate-re­lated top­ics on the world stage, he said.

The project also show­cased China’s de­ter­mi­na­tion and sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity in com­bat­ing cli­mate change “by thor­oughly and sys­tem­at­i­cally ex­am­in­ing its own car­bon sit­u­a­tion”, Fang said.

“Our find­ings have opened new in­sights into im­prov­ing eco­log­i­cal car­bon mit­i­ga­tion through hu­man ef­forts. They will help China and other coun­tries that are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing sim­i­lar eco­log­i­cal chal­lenges to be more green and beau­ti­ful.”

China’s spe­cial fea­tures are “of great im­por­tance both sci­en­tif­i­cally and so­ci­etally”, said In­der Verma, an aca­demi­cian of the Na­tional Academy of Sciences in the United States.

“It is a par­tic­u­larly op­por­tune mo­ment to ex­am­ine the fea­si­bil­ity of cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion in the coun­try and how this fits into a broader con­text of con­tem­po­rary global change fac­tors that are strongly in­flu­enc­ing China’s ecosys­tems,” he said.

Su­san Trum­bore, a PNAS edi­tor, said the Chi­nese pa­pers have made “a novel con­tri­bu­tion by demon­strat­ing a di­rect link be­tween pol­icy and out­comes for soil car­bon in agri­cul­tural soils”.

Our find­ings have opened new in­sights into im­prov­ing eco­log­i­cal car­bon mit­i­ga­tion through hu­man ef­forts.”

Fang Jingyun, sci­en­tist at the In­sti­tute of Botany, Chi­nese Academy of Sciences

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