Explorers

2012 Projects

Title: Rangeland management and their effects on water yields of alpine grassland ecosystems on Ruoergai Plateau, China

Applicant: Dr. Luo, Peng

Organization: Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Budget: $40,600

Year: 5/15/2013-10/31/2014

 

Using improved non-weighing lysimeters, the project is going to quantitatively measure the water provision service of the rangelands on Ruoergai Plateau, a watershed area in the upper reach of the Yellow River. With simulated management treatments (grazing, fertilizing, sowing), water provision capacities of the rangelands under different managements will be compared, and the relationships between ecosystem water provision and plant community structure/composition will be analyzed, so as to identify a technology/management model that can optimize water provision functions of the rangelands. The results will provide important scientific knowledge and technology basis for water provision impact assessment, payment for ecosystem services planning, and water resource conservation on the Plateau. The project findings will be further tested and applied by means of technology demonstration and policy suggestion to decision-makers.

 

 

Title: Gauging environmental effects of China's South-to-North Water Transfer Project: Water loss by evaporation and biodiversity impacts by fragmentation

Applicant: Dr. Li, Xiaoyan

Organization: College of Resources Science & Technology, Beijing Normal University

Budget: $50,000

Year: 5/15/2013-5/15/2014

 

After a 50-year feasibility study, the South-to-North Water Transfer Project (SNWTP) started in 2002. Currently, one of three planned routes is completed, delivering nine billion m³/year of water to the North China Plain (NCP). However, while construction is ongoing, the impacts of the SNWTP on ecosystems are unknown. The project focuses on the middle route of the SNWTP which is currently under construction and aims to close two of these main knowledge gaps: quantifying water loss due to evaporation and accessing the impact of habitat fragmentation along the canal route, taking lessons from similar water transfer projects in Arizona.

 

 

Title: Novel control and resources circulation of rural livestock pollution in China

Applicant: Dr. Zhou, Minghua

Organization: College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nankai University

Budget: $48,000

Year: 7/1/2013-6/30/2014

 

Livestock wastewater and fecal contamination is one of the biggest environmental problems in rural areas in China, and they are still far from effective and sustainable disposal by traditional technologies. The project aims to develop innovative microbial fuel cells coupled with microalgae production technology to fulfill efficient wastewater treatment, feces resource reduction, and simultaneous electricity production, as well as algae production for poultry feed. The project will be piloted in a local pig farm, offering technical support for building a new system of ecological farming cycle. It will build a sustainable solution to livestock pollution control through energy recovery and new resource production, providing a new paradigm for the new rural construction and livestock pollution control in China.

 

 

Title: A survey of rare earth elements distribution in the origin areas of Gan River and Pearl River

Applicant: Dr. Chen, Zheng

Organization: Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Budget: $45,000

Year: 5/1/2013-4/30/2014

 

This project will focus on the rare earth elements and other metals associated with rare earth elements mining and investigate their concentrations in the rivers, river sediments, and aquatic plants and animals. The project aims to figure out geological transport of the rare earth elements from the mining areas to river sediment or downstream and biological accumulation from river water to the living organisms. The outcome of this project will provide strong support to better protect the origins of Gan River, Dong River, and Bei River and evaluate the ecological impact of the rising production and application of rare earth elements in the world.

 

 

Title: Quantitative study of using green roofs to filter air and storm water in the south of China—Case study in Wuhan

Applicant: Mr. Wang, Tong

Organization: School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Huazhong University of Science & Technology

Budget: $39,707

Year: 6/1/2013-2/28/2015

 

Through the comparative test of 12 different types of green roofs, this project aims to measure the purification rate of storm water, the water absorption rate, and the amount of the carbon fixation. This project can identify the best pattern of the planting design and the reasonable thickness of the material layers by analyzing the data, which can provide the theoretic foundation for the green roof to filter air and storm water and may help to find the green roofs technically fit in the south of China. Furthermore, this project puts forward a new view for the urban water logging and drainage problem and helps to cut down the energy loss, reduce the urban-heat-island effect, and increase the biodiversity.

 

 

Title: Research on forest ecosystem services for drought risk reduction in Yunnan

Applicant: Mr. Yang, Fangyi

Organization: Shanshui Conservation Center

Budget: $48,700

Year: 1/1/2013-6/30/2014

 

Yunnan has experienced severe drought since 2010 and it is forecast the trend of drying and warming up will still persist in Yunnan. The applicant will study whether the forest ecosystem is capable of maintaining the water provision services in Yunnan. The project will use the forest and forest hydrology monitoring methods to evaluate the water holding capacity by monoculture plantation forest and natural vegetation in Gaoligongshan Nature Reserve, which is one of the on-the-ground project sites for Shanshui Conservation Center’s Forest-Water projects. The result of the project is expected to be used to evaluate the pilot projects in other nature reserves. Besides, the project will encourage the government and communities to adjust their drought adaptation strategy in Yunnan. The new strategy will focus more on protecting the natural vegetation rather than turning them into monoculture plantation forests. The capacity building and public engagement strategy will also be carried out to form the alliance of forest protection from the public and local community.

 

 

Title: Ecological and social acceptance of mercury-free gold mining techniques by artisanal miners in China

Applicant: Dr. Li, Lanhai

Organization: Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography

Budget: $41,087

Year: 5/1/2013-10/31/2013

 

The project is to offer introduction and demonstration of Cleangold tools and methods as an alternative to mercury for primary stage ore processing and final stage recovery in a gold mining sector in Xinjiang autonomous region. Cleangold has been verified to recover finer gold particles than mercury, or the industry's state-of-the-art processes. The project aims to adapt Cleangold within the miners' current cultural and technological parameters with the goal of increasing the miners' gold yield, while eliminating the need for the ongoing expense and risks of mercury, thereby conserving the environment and enhancing community health and economic development.

 

 

Title: Survey of water pollution change in Songhua River Basin caused by companies and community participation in environmental governance

Applicant: Mr. Zhang, Yadong

Organization: Green Longjiang

Budget: $30,000

Year: 3/1/2013-2/28/2014

 

Located in northeast China, Songhua River Basin is an important agricultural and heavy industrial base. In the past 20 years, the Songhua River has suffered huge pollution. Besides, new pollution is being transferred from the big cities in the middle, the east, and the south of China. With more and more stringent environmental policies, many companies have moved to remote areas or villages recently in order to avoid the environmental cost. This project aims to study the water pollution transfer in national key environmental protection cities and important industrial bases in Songhua River Basin. By comparing with the situation in the past five years, the project will analyze how the water pollution has been transferred to the Songhua River Basin, and thus contribute to solving serious water pollution issues in this area. Meanwhile, based on the survey, the applicant will work with the local community to help some companies to become environmentally friendly.

 

Spotlight

Meet the Explorers

  • Picture of Greg Marshall

    Spotlight: Greg Marshall

    Marshall dedicates his life to studying, exploring, and documenting animal life in the oceans and across the globe.

  • NationalGeographic_1289095-flag.jpg

    Explorers A-Z

    At the heart of our explorers program is the quest for knowledge through exploration and the people who make it possible.

Newsletter: Explorer Updates

  • NationalGeographic_1289095-flag.jpg

    Explorers A-Z

    At the heart of our explorers program is the quest for knowledge through exploration and the people who make it possible.

Our Explorers in Action