Biography & Abstract



Prof. Zhiyun Ouyang

Research Center for Eco-environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences



Zhiyun Ouyang, Ph.D, professor, is Deputy Director of Research Center for Eco-environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences; and vice president of Ecological Society of China, and vice president of Chinese society of Ecological Economics. Dr. Ouyang's research interests include ecosystem assessment, ecosystem services, ecosystem restoration and biodiversity conservation. Recent years, he has made his main efforts to push ecosystem service assessment and its policy applications in conservation, restoration and land management in China, including ecosystem service evaluation, ecological asset and Gross Ecosystem Product (GEP) accounting, ecosystem service zoning of China, ecosystem assessment of China, biodiversity conservation and nature reserve management, restoration of degraded ecosystems in ecological fragile region. Prof. Ouyang has published over 400 peer-view articles, among which over 150 papers in international journals. In addition, he has published 10 books. Prof. Ouyang won three Second Prizes of National Science and Technology Progress, and the Outstanding Science and Technology Achievement Prize of Chinese Academy of Science.


Title: Ecosystem pattern, services, challenges and governance in China

Abstract: Covering 9.6 million km2, China has diverse ecosystems from permanent ice fields to tropical moist forests and holds 15% of the world’s vertebrate and 12% of its plant species. Since 2000, government policies have led to rapid urbanization, aspired to protect more land, prevent deforestation, convert agricultural land to forests and restore degraded land — and do so on an unprecedented geographical scale. In 2012, China launched China national ecosystem assessment (CEA) to quantify ecosystem status and trends, and ecosystem service provision between 2000 and 2010.

(1) Changes in ecosystem Patterns. In 2010, grassland occupied 2,836,758 km2 (30.0%) of China’s land surface, followed by forest (20.2%), agricultural land (19.2%), and deserts (13.5%). Shrublands, wetlands, urban areas and others constituted the remaining 17.1%. Between 2000 and 2010, major changes occurred in urban areas and reforest areas. 

(2) Changes in ecosystem quality. Overall, ecosystem quality was low. In 2010, high- and moderately high-grade ecosystems only occupied 21.0%, 19.4% and 17.4% of all forests, shrubs and grasslands respectively. Since 2000, 72.3% of forests, 53.1% of shrubs, and 50.3% of grasslands improved. 

(3) Changes in ecosystem services. All ecosystem services evaluated increased between since 2000, with the exception of habitat provision for biodiversity. Food production had the largest increase (38.5%), followed by carbon sequestration (23.4%), soil retention (12.9%), flood mitigation (12.7%), sand storm prevention (6.1%), and water retention (3.6%), while habitat provision decreased slightly (-3.1%). 

(4) Changes in ecological problems. China still faces serious ecological problems. Soil erosion and sand desertification affected 18.0% and 19.0% of the land in 2010. While from 2000 to 2010, degraded land decreased by 5.6%. Coastal areas experienced serious degradation. Natural wetlands along the coast decreased from 11,923 km2 to 10,149 km2, with the net decrease of 14.9%. 

(5) Reasons for ecosystem change. Urbanization, ecological restoration and concerns for food security were the major factors changing ecosystem patterns in China. Overall, China’s national conservation policies contributed significantly in improving ecosystem pattern, ecosystem quality and provision of ecosystem services.

(6) Policy implementations. The results generated by the CEA have already been applied in China. For example, 49.4% of China’s land area has been newly incorporated into Ecosystem Function Conservation Areas (EFCAs). The findings and data set developed by CEA has also applied in national park planning and regional conservation policies.