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Researchers review research progress on biodiversity science in China
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In October 2021, China will host the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15). This conference will deliberate on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and clarify the global biodiversity conservation goals and effective implementation mechanisms for 2021-2030. It is of great significance to summarize and review the research progress of China's biodiversity science at this time.

MA Keping, a professor from Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IBCAS), leads in organizing a number of domestic and foreign ecologists to write a long review article. From a global perspective, it reviews important events and published achievements affecting the development of China’s biodiversity research, and discusses the shortcomings and key areas for future biodiversity research in China.

The review comments on the representative achievements of China's biodiversity science from three aspects. First, in terms of biodiversity inventory and monitoring, 1) China has published the Flora of China, Fauna of China, Spore Flora of China, Vegetation of China, Vegetation Map of China (1:1000000) and Chinese Vegetation Regionalization Map, 2) the National Specimen Information Infrastructure (NSII) has digitized 15.7 million specimens, and 3) China has established biodiversity monitoring networks such as Chinese Biodiversity Observation Network (Sino BON) and Chinese Ecosystem Research Network (CERN).

Next, for origin and maintenance mechanisms of biodiversity, the reconstructed Chinese angiosperm tree of life suggests China as both museum and cradle of Chinese biodiversity, while "Mixing-Isolation-Mixing" model has been proposed to explain rapid diversification in the Hengduan Mountains. In diversity maintenance in local communities, the generality of conspecific density dependence has been supported in Chinese forests across climatic zones, and the "Janzen-Connell Hypothesis" has been extended. The positive effect of forest and grassland biodiversity on ecosystem functioning and stability has been supported in subtropical forests and grasslands in China. Further, the ecosystem services and the impact of major governmental programmes at national and regional scales have been systematically evaluated.

Third, with the respect to biodiversity threats and global change responses, the roles of climate change and human activities in different historical periods, as well as the mechanisms for dealing with global changes, have been revealed.

The review also identifies four important areas of future Chinese biodiversity research: 1) Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and adjacent areas; 2) the impact of human activities on subtropical forest biodiversity; 3) marine biodiversity; 4) providing scientific support for biodiversity conservation and ecological civilization construction. In addition, Chinese scientists should continue to strengthen the application of new technologies and methods in biodiversity research, and further expand international cooperations.

The review entitled “The global significance of biodiversity science in China: an overview” has been published in National Science Review. MI Xiangcheng from IBCAS and FENG Gang from Inner Mongolia University are co-first authors, MA Keping from IBCAS is the corresponding author. Ecologists from the Institute of Zoology (IZCAS), East China Normal University, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG), Sun Yat-sen University, Duke University, University of Zurich, and Aarhus University contributed to this review.

China's biodiversity science has made progresses on ten topics in three areas

Article Link: https://academic.oup.com/nsr/advance-article/doi/10.1093/nsr/nwab032/6147049
Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences




  • https://academic.oup.com/nsr/advance-article/doi/10.1093/nsr/nwab032/6147049
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