Shelterbelt Scientists Share Insights in Shenyang Symposium
Scientists from China and many other countries and regions have gathered in Shenyang to exchange insights in shelterbelt science, a field that studies forest ecosystems that protect the environment from degradation and disasters. The International Symposium on Shelterbelt Science 2023 ended on August 15, 2023, which also coincided with the first “National Ecological Day” in China.
The symposium was co-organised by several institutions, including the Institute of Applied Ecology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the Northwest, North and Northeast China Shelterbelt Construction Bureau of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, Beijing Forestry University, Chinese Academy of Forestry, and Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Sciences. More than 300 experts, scholars and forestry technicians attended the symposium.
The symposium centred on the theme of “Integrated Protection and Systematic Management of Mountains, Rivers, Forests, Farmlands, Lakes, Grasslands and Sandlands in Ecologically Fragile Areas”. It invited 17 renowned experts from home and abroad to share their insights at the main venue. It also held 54 presentations on six topics, including scientific construction and sustainable management of shelterbelts, comprehensive assessment of shelterbelt quality and ecological service functions, mechanism of shelterbelt decline and technology for enhancing its functional stability, sustainable development of forestry in ecologically fragile areas under climate change scenarios, integrated management and sustainable utilisation of typical desertified lands, and the development direction of shelterbelt science.
Ecologically fragile areas are regions where ecological system functions degrade, resource and/or environment carrying capacity declines due to the fragility of the ecosystem itself, its high sensitivity to climate change, long-term excessive development, and other human activities. At present, ecologically fragile areas account for more than 50 percent of the global land area, becoming a limiting factor for the sustainable development of human society. Shelterbelts are a type of forest ecosystem that aims to play a protective role. The establishment of shelterbelts can effectively regulate climate, conserve soil and water, and resist wind disasters. They have an irreplaceable role in maintaining the ecological environment. After the founding of New China in 1949, China started to develop shelterbelts on a large scale and implemented a world-famous forestry ecological project - “Shelterbelt System Construction Project in Northwest, North and Northeast China” (hereinafter referred to as “Three-North Project”), which made significant contributions to the ecological environment improvement and regional economic and social development in these areas.
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Three-North Project, the 2018 International Symposium on Shelterbelt Science was held in Shenyang. The symposium summarised the main achievements of China’s Three-North Project construction in 40 years, and analysed the situation and problems faced by the Three-North Project. In 2023, on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the construction of the Three-North Project, the “International Symposium on Shelterbelt Science 2023” was held as scheduled. In June this year, General Secretary XI Jinping held a symposium during his inspection tour in Inner Mongolia to make important arrangements for strengthening comprehensive prevention and control of desertification and promoting key ecological projects such as the “Three-North” project. He stressed that efforts should be made to build the “Three-North” project into a functionally complete, unbreakable Green Great Wall and ecological security barrier in northern China within about 10 years.
Through this symposium, the experts, scholars, managers, decision-makers, forestry technicians and graduate students around the world exchanged the latest research progress in the field of shelterbelt science. It further promoted collaboration, innovation and discipline development in shelterbelt research.