Kick-off Meeting for the UNEP-NSFC collaborative research project on Biological Maintenance Mechanisms and Scale Effects of Soil Nutrient Heterogeneity in Tropical Forests held successfully in Xishuangbanna

  • 23 April 2021  |  News

On 23 Aril, 2021, the UNEP-NSFC collaborative research project titled “biological maintenance mechanisms and scale effects of soil nutrient heterogeneity in tropical forests: Based on a forest transect from Southwest China to Indochina Peninsula” was officially launched in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province of China. More than 30 participants from UN Environment Programme-International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP), Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), project advisory group, and project core team participated in the meeting. UNEP-IEMP is the international coordinating unit of the project.

In the opening session of the kick-off meeting, Prof. Jin Chen, Director General of XTBG, congratulated on the official launch of the project and provided guiding suggestions for the project implementation in future. Dr. Linxiu Zhang, UNEP-IEMP Director, extended her congratulations on the project, and introduced the background, current situation and development trend of international cooperation projects jointly supported by NSFC and UNEP. As the principal investigator (PI) of the project from Chinese side, Prof. Xiaodong Yang reported the research and implementation plan of the project. As the PI of the project from foreign side, Dr. Anuttara Nathalang from National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) of Thailand, introduced the research sample plots of the project in Thailand.

Prof. Jin Chen, Director General of XTBG, delivering the opening remark

Dr. Linxiu Zhang, Director of UNEP-IEMP, introducing the background of UNEP-NSFC collaborative research programme

Prof. Xiaodong Yang (Chinese PI) introducing the background of the project

Dr. Anuttara Nathalang (Thai PI) making presentation at the kick-off meeting

Then, Prof. Yongping Yang, Deputy Director General of XTBG, Dr. Linxiu Zhang, Prof. Zexin Fan, Prof.  Yaowu Xing and Prof. Luxiang Lin from XTBG, and other experts from the project advisory group provided suggestions on how to focus on the project implementation process, the application of project results, talent exchange and promoting science and policy interface. Prof. Xiaodong Yang responded to the questions and suggestions and expressed his gratitudes.

Finally, Prof. Yongping Yang shared his guidance and suggestions on the project implementation plan and made a concluding speech.

The project advisory group providing suggestions for the project implementation

Prof. Yongping, Deputy Director General of XTBG, making the concluding speech

This project is one of the international cooperation projects jointly supported by NSFC and UNEP during 2021-2025. The project is led by XTBG of CAS and BIOTEC of NSTDA of Thailand. In this project, the complex regional-scale processes of tropical forests are linked with small-scale soil nutrient heterogeneity. With the help of the research methods of spatial ecology, the spatial attributes of environmental parameters will be included in the research, and the change trend in spatial pattern of soil nutrient heterogeneity (patch area and intensity of nutrient heterogeneity) in the regional dimension will be explored.

Southwest China and Indochina Peninsula are among the regions with the richest biodiversity and biological endemic species in the world, but they are also the regions where biodiversity is seriously threatened. How to balance the utilization and protection of biodiversity is a major problem to ensure the sustainable economic and social development of the region. Forests are the most widely distributed terrestrial natural ecosystem in this region, and the patch characteristics and dynamic changes of soil nutrients are important driving factors to maintain the coexistence of forest community species. The expected results of the project will not only help us to understand the contribution and change of niche processes to nutrient heterogeneity, but also further clarify the key pathway for the interaction between tropical forest plants and soil biodiversity to maintain soil nutrients, so as to provide new theory, data and technical support for enriching the connotation of feedback mechanisms between tropical forest plants and soil, and to establish a scientific, objective, reliable and applicable ecosystem assessment framework, methods and monitoring system for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management.

Participants from UNEP-IEMP and the project team and advisory group at the project kick-off meeting

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