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 Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>