The results of the BIODESERT project with the participation of Bu Chongfeng's team of the Institute of Soil and Water Conservation were published in Science
BIODESERT is a European Research Council (ERC) project chaired by Professor Fernando Maestre of the University of Alicante, Spain. Focus on ecosystem resilience under global change, more than 100 scientists worldwide participate in the subject and the study area covers 98 dryland sites in 6 continents and 25 countries.
Professor Bu Chongfeng of the Institute of Soil and Water Conservation was invited to participate in the project in 2016. He selected the Mu Us Sandland as one of the typical study regions and laid a total of 11 sample sites in three sample sites including Otog Banner, Uxin Banner, and Yuyang District, Yulin city from northwest to southeast. The standard sample strip method was used to investigate and observe more than 4000 data of key indicators of soil, vegetation, grazing intensity, and microorganisms. Prof. Bu also participated in the whole process of data analysis and paper writing and made important contributions to the project.
On November 25th, one of the latest results of the project was published in Science, titled "Grazing and ecosystem service delivery in global drylands".
Our research showed that the relationships between climate, soils, biodiversity, and ecosystem function varied due to grazing intensity. Under high-intensity grazing, the soil carbon pool decreases, and soil erosion increased after climate warming, while these effects are no longer significant under low-intensity grazing. In hot and species-sparse drylands, increased grazing intensity weakened ecosystem services, while in cool and species-rich drylands, high grazing intensity exhibited a positive effect. Vascular plant and herbivore diversity were closely related to many ecological services (e.g., carbon stocks) and regulate significantly climate change. The results of this study have important implications for achieving sustainable grazing management, constructing effective land restoration programs, and mitigating the negative impacts of climate change and land desertification.
This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41971131) and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFE0203400).