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Science Advances on West's Environment


Scientists have reported preliminary achievements in their efforts to trace ecological evolution in China's western regions over the next 50 years.

Chen Yiyu, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said: "We obtained some original data of great scientific significance last year and that's a good beginning."

In 2000, the academy launched a massive action plan to combine forces in the nation's effort to develop its lagging western regions. Top of the academy's list of research programs was to trace developing trends in the regions' fragile ecology.

As part of their endeavors, the scientists drilled a 116.8 meter-deep cross-section from an iceberg at the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau that was 6,550 meters above sea level last year. The cross-section is important for calculating changes in the climate and the evolution of the area's environment over the past years.

Chen said the scientists had also collected data from dry areas, the sources of major rivers.

Chen said: "Our research in this endeavor will play an important role in the government's decision-making in the campaign for western development."

As well as research mentioned, the Academy of Sciences has launched a further seven programs covering research into water and soil conservation, anti-desertification and medicinal materials in the last year. The total investment for the research was 123 million yuan (US$14.8 million).

Chen revealed the accomplishments at a press conference in Beijing yesterday, organized by the academy to report on the development of the academy's action plan.

In addition to basic research, the academy, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the State Development Planning Commission and local authorities have launched five high-tech programs covering the chemical industry, rare earth mining and coal processing. The overall investment was 40.2 million yuan (US$4.84 million).

Local governments and research organizations in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Qinghai and Gansu provinces and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have joined forces in the projects.

Chen said his academy has made great efforts in training and funding research staff for the scientific work in the west.

Up to the end of October last year, more than 1,100 scientists and researchers had taken part in the action plan and the academy had earmarked about 15 million yuan (US$1.8 million) to help 117 research groups.

(China Daily January 25, 2002)

In This Series

Academy of Sciences Becomes More Innovative

Academy of Sciences Plans More Genetic Research

China Bids to Attract Scientists

CAS Sets Food Security as Main Target for 2001

References

Glaciers to Bring Herdsmen Fortunes

Ecological Improvement: Hope for Poor

State Devotes US$7.8 Billion to Environment Protection

China to Build Database of Cay Ecology

Archive

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State Development Planning Commission

Ministry of Science and Technology

Chinese Academy of Sciences



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