Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

China's environmental challenges

21.09.2006
A grand-scale ecological experiment

It is the most populous country in the world. Half the country is arid or semi-arid and mountains cover three-quarters of it. Natural resources are scarce. Yet 1.3 billion people live in China, which is undergoing a remarkable rate of economic growth. At the same time, China's environmental problems of energy and water shortages, water and air pollution, cropland and biodiversity losses are escalating.

The September issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment devotes itself entirely to exploring China's environmental challenges and potential solutions, with all of the articles written by Chinese scientists.

As the lead guest editorialists Drs. Jingyun Fang and Chia Kiang (both of Peking University) note, "China's extraordinary rate of economic development makes it a historically unique, grand-scale socioeconomic and ecological "experiment," and one that will have an unprecedented impact on the world as a whole.

The journal's research communications examine the ecological consequences of the rapid urban expansion of Shanghai as well as the state of biodiversity in China's mountains. Focusing on major cities such as Shanghai, Shuqing Zhao (Peking University) and colleagues discuss the major challenges faced by Chinese policy makers in managing the tradeoffs between urbanization and environmental protection. Meanwhile, the country's mountainous regions still host a surprising number of plant and animals species. Zhiyao Tang (Peking University) and fellow researchers identified ten hotspot regions in China's major mountain ranges they say should be priorities for the country's conservation plans.

One of the review articles in the issue examines the phenomenon of so-called city clusters in China, which, in contrast to the United States, tend to be much more concentrated and densely populated with little room for natural areas. In the city of Guangzhou, for example, space between residential buildings is so tight that people refer to them as "handshaking buildings." City clusters often enhance the competitiveness of a region, catalyzing economic growth. The downside is the environmental pollution wrought by rapid urbanization, particularly on water and air quality. Min Shao et al. (Peking University) predict that by 2020, 50 percent of China's population will be living in towns and cities, and that domestic water needs will be double those of 2000. The amount of sewage generated will go up by a factor of at least 1.3, putting the country's already fragile freshwater systems under greater strain.

The authors wonder: will China "…..continue down the same road as in the past two decades, or will environmental quality, energy efficiency, and the conservation of resources no longer be sacrificed at the altar of economic development?"

Authors Wei An and Jianying Hu (Peking University) tackle the topic of endocrine disrupting chemicals in China's rivers and coastal waters, looking particularly at the impacts on Chinese sturgeon, night herons, and carp--all of which have exhibited sex organ malformations.

Frontier's Finishing Lines columnist Katherine Ellison highlights Goldman Environmental Prize Award winner Yu Xiaogang, a Chinese watershed activist. She notes that the Chinese government realizes it must rely on the support of the private sector and that the country now boasts more than 2000 environmental organizations, working on issues ranging from public transit to the impact of mega-dams.

Nadine Lymn | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.esa.org
http://www.frontiersinecology.org/specialissueChina.php

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

nachricht Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>