Beijing Forestry University (BFU) celebrated the opening of the Research Institute of Ecological Protection and High-quality Development of the Yellow River Basin, a center to conduct research into the protection and development of the Yellow River basin, on Oct 18, 2013. President An Lizhe, Party Secretary Wang Hongyuan, Professor Shen Guofang, Peng Youdong, an official from China’s Forestry and Grassland Bureau, inaugurated the institute.
The founding of the institute is a response to a speech by Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, at a symposium during his inspection tour to central China’s Henan Province in mid-September. The speech highlights the Yellow River basin’s important role in the country’s economic and social development and ecological security, adding that ecological protection and high-quality development of the Yellow River basin is regarded as a major national strategy.
Wang Hongyuan points out that the ecological protection and high-quality development of the Yellow River basin should be regarded as a mission, an opportunity, and a challenge for BFU. Concerted efforts should be made to implement Xi’s ecological thoughts by conducting related studies so that the scientific research results, data, a comprehensive evaluation standard index system, and talents can be provided to help the national top-level strategies. The focus should be on the integrity of the ecosystem, healthy development, ecological restoration and management, landscape gardening, the good protection and utilization of water resources, research into the culture and ecological civilization, and the cultivation of talents.
The newly established institute aims to practice green development and comprehensive management of landscape, forests, fields, lakes and grasses in the Yellow River basin. Faculties of forestry, landscape gardening, ecological restoration engineering, urban and rural development, economic development, forestry engineering in BFU can be taken advantage of. There will be eight divisions in the new institute for the ecological protection and management of the Yellow River basin in various aspects: Division Ecosystem Protection of the Yellow River basin, Division of High-quality Development of the Yellow River basin, Division of the Wisdom in the Yellow River Culture, Division of Ecological Restoration and Management of the Yellow River, Division of Landscape Planning of the Yellow River basin, Division of the Yellow River Water Resources Protection and Utilization, Division of the Yellow River Culture and Ecological Civilization, Division of the Ecological Protection of the Yellow River basin, and Division of the Cultivation of Talents for High-quality Development. The Research Institute is chaired by BFU Party Secretary of BFU Wang Hongyuan, with the BFU president An Lizhe as Director and Academician Shen Guofang as Chief Scientist.
BFU has been actively engaged in the ecological management of the Yellow River basin during its sixty-seven years of history. The Scientific Research Team of Soil and Water Conservation and Desertification Control, led by Academician Guan Junwei of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, had been committed to soil and water conservation and desertification control in the Loess Plateau of the Yellow River basin. Guan Junwei (used to be a professor of BFU), contributed heavily to the building of “the northwest-north-northeast China networks of shelterbelts”. Thanks to his efforts, together with the teachers and students of the BFU College of Soil and Water Conservation, a scientific experimental base for comprehensive management of soil and water loss on the Loess Plateau in Xiji County, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region was established as early as in the 1980s. So successful was the work that it was highly praised by even the supreme leaders and heads of state of China and the term of “Xiji model” for ecological management of the Loess Plateau was created.
The scientific research team of the National Engineering Laboratory of Forest Breeding, headed by the late BFU Prof. Zhu Zhiti, also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, proposed industrialization of triploid Populus tomentosa in the Yellow River basin. Supported by the then Premier Zhu Rongji and the then Premier Wen Jiabao, 450 million Populus tomentosa were planted in area of over 5 million mu (over 333,333 million ha).
BFU has been the cradle of professionals specialized in advanced technology of multi-disciplines including forestry, soil and water conservation, landscape gardening, biotechnology, ecological environment protection and economic management. The cross-disciplinary studies of forestry, agrostology, ecology and biology can support the ecological restoration work in Sanjiangyuan, Qilian mountain, Gannan and other areas in the upper reaches of the Yellow River, while disciplines of the Protection of Wild Life, Wetland Ecology, Forestry Biology in BFU can provide the ecological protection for the wetlands in the Yellow River Delta, promote the healthy development of the ecological system, and encourage biodiversity. For a long time, BFU has conducted research in the evaluation of the ecological functions, the protection of alpine wetland ecosystems of the Yellow River basin, the prevention and control of soil erosion across the Loess Plateau, the ecological management of wind and sand areas, the design of protective forest systems, the industrialization of Populus tomentosa, and the protection of the coastal wetlands. It is hoped that the newly-established institute can contribute to the ecological protection and high-quality development of the Yellow River basin.