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Focusing on the sustainable utilization and protection monitoring of natural resources in the black soil critical zone

May 08,2018
Black soil is a precious treasure that nature gives to human beings and one of the most precious natural resources on the earth. From February 19 to 21, the standing committee of UNESCO held the IGCP international cooperation plan review meeting in the headquarters of Paris, and the proposal of international cooperation project of "the evolution and sustainable utilization of land resources in the black soil critical zone" applied by Shenyang geological survey center had been approved, it might open a new field of geoscientific research for us.
1 The gift of nature
Chinese people often use 'one kilo of earth equals to two kilos of oil' to describe the fertility and preciousness of black soil. Dr. Dai huimin from Shenyang geological center said:" there are only four large areas of black soil in the world, all of which are developed in the middle latitudes. They are distributed in northeast China, North America, Ukraine, southern Russia and South America. The black soil area in northeast China covers an area of 1.24 million square kilometers, among which the typical black soil is distributed in Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces in the shape of crescent, covering an area of about 170,000 square kilometers. At present, more than 7 million hectares of cultivated land have been reclaimed, and the grain output accounts for more than 60% of the two provinces.
Relevant statistical data show that among the 5 provinces that mainly produces grain in China, there are 3 in northeast China. The northeast China is considered to be "big granary", "food market stabilizer", and "food security ballast".
Even more gratifying, in 1999, the agricultural geological survey organized by China geological survey began to be carried out, and a large number of continuous selenium rich soil was found in the black soil distributed area.
The crops in the selenium rich land area were tested and found that 12 crops, including rice, soybean, watermelon, melon, bean, cucumber, pepper, tomato and potato, all reached the natural selenium rich agricultural products standard.
"Selenium-rich flowers" have been opened on the black soil, which is more precious in northeast China.
2 black soil is sick
“Yellow skin exposure” is a new term invented by the northeast ordinary people, used to describe the black soil loss phenomenon.
The conclusion drawn by experts after investigation and research is more intuitive: after a century of high-intensity development and utilization, the soil erosion, salt and alkali hardening, nutrient imbalance of black soil in northeast China is obvious, and it is changing to "poor", "thin" and "hard".
According to relevant investigation and research, the black soil area in China loses 0.3 ~ 1.0cm its thickness every year, and soil organic matter decreases by 1/1000 every year. Due to serious soil and water loss over the years, the black soil layer which used to be 30 ~ 100 cm thick is now only 20 ~ 30 cm. Some areas even show the beneath yellow earth and basically lose production capacity.
According to the calculation of this loss rate, part of the existing cultivated land in the black soil will be lost for another 40 to 50 years, that means the black soil layer will be lost completely.
The rate of loss is increasing and the area of loss is expanding year by year. At present, the soil erosion area in the northeast black soil area is 44,700 square kilometers, accounting for 26.3% of the whole typical black soil area.
What are the consequences of the erosion of black soil? 'the loss of black soil is different from loess, which only thins the soil layer but can grow crops,' said Dr. Dai, ‘Once the black soil was lost, the agricultural production capacity was lost’.
Black soil is "sick", not just in China. Because black soil is fertile, three large black soil areas in the northern hemisphere are important agricultural production bases in their countries. In the process of development and reclamation of all black soil areas, serious soil erosion occurred, such as the "black storm" in the United States and Ukraine.
"If we do not seize control, 'black soil' may become a historical term in the book."
3 Love to the black soil
To black soil "illness", the Shenyang geological survey center was aware of that years ago, and anxious since then.
After analyzing and studying the results of the agricultural geological survey since 1999, they found that although there is a preliminary consensus on the formation mechanism of black soil and the degradation of several large areas of black soil, systematic research on protective development and utilization, degradation prevention and control, etc. is still blank. Whether it is future conservation development or current degradation prevention and rehabilitation, there is no reliable research support foundation.
In view of this reality, since 2016, Shenyang center began to commit to carrying out special investigation of black soil. On the basis of systematically summarizing and analyzing the results of the agricultural geological survey, they have formed a proposal to carry out the geo-ecological survey of black soil.
This proposal was highly valued by China geological survey. Director Zhong Ziran calls for systematic scientific research from the point of view of the critical zone of the earth. In January 2016, for the first time in China, a special black soil investigation project was officially launched mainly by means of geochemical investigation.
In November the same year, Li Zhizhong the director of the Shenyang center, keenly aware that land and the sustainable utilization has important practical significance for ensuring food security in China, and the amount and quality of land and resources in northeast is also of great significance for the development of northeast old industrial base, however land and geological ecological problem could be a big gap of geological research. For this reason, organizing a black soil geological ecology investigation seminar became the first thing when Li Zhizhong was appointed to the director of Shenyang center.
"Director Li asked us to shift our view point form basic individual survey project to critical zone of the earth, form single geochemical survey, expand to the connection and influence of soil, water and atmosphere, and also pay more attention the new technologies like space-air-ground integrated investigation. The most importantly, we have to closely collaborate with experts around the world." "Said Dai huimin.
In August 2017, After learning about the research idea of Shenyang center, Zhao Pengda and other 8 academicians jointly proposed to the China geological survey "Suggestions on carrying out geo-ecological survey and global change observation in the black soil critical zone (46 degrees north latitude)". In March 2018, Sun Fengyue, a professor of Jilin university, formally submitted to the standing committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) the suggestions on accelerating the comprehensive survey, monitoring, protection, development and utilization of black soil in northeast China in the form of a proposal by NPC deputies, and put forward systematic assumptions from various aspects such as research content, methods and means.
In September 2017, after reading phased investigation results from Shenyang center, Zhao Wenjin, Tong Qingxi and other 10 members from Chinese academy of sciences and Chinese academy of engineering joint presented a proposal, promoting the development and utilization of the northeast black earth protection, to Zhang Qingwei the secretary of Heilongjiang provincial party committee.
In early April 2018, Zhang Qingwei organized the Heilongjiang black land protection development and utilization meeting, putting emphasis on scientific planning the development, utilization and the protection of black soil regions for the coming three years, actively carry out international cooperation and building a supporting system for the land and to protect, speed up the formation of the expert team, etc.
4 Stand on a global level
According to Li Zhizhong's new concept of "open door research, global height", Shenyang center has accelerated its efforts to carry out international cooperation while actively carrying out exploration.
In August 2017, the project team took a tentative attitude and successively sent out the consultation letter for holding the black soil protection and utilization conference to more than a dozen countries with black soil distribution. To their surprise, the countries agreed with their proposal, saying the international conference should be organized as soon as possible.
In December 8, 2017, more than 60 scientists from 10 countries gathered in Shenyang to discuss scientific research in global black soil critical zone, and solemnly signed their names on a proposal drafted together, jointly carry out geo-ecological investigation and protection and utilization in black soil critical zone.
According to the initiative, the cooperation on black soil protection and utilization will focus on eight aspects: 1)Based on the current project, the geological and ecological survey of the black soil critical zone in the northern and southern hemisphere was conducted based on geochemistry, satellite remote sensing, soil spectrum and the observation, so as to determine the distribution and related properties of black soil.2) Formation and evolution of black soil under global climate change and human activities.3) Migration mechanism of energy, water and solids between different layers in the black soil critical zone.4) carbon cycle and its relationship in black soil regions considering climate change and human activities.5) Comparative study of different management practices under black soil degradation and restoration.6)Carry out research on key factors such as water, nutrient and carbon cycle in the black soil critical zone, so as to achieve the sustainable development between the critical zone and products such as agricultural products and water quality.7)Study the integrated modeling system of black soil critical zone based on multidisciplinary collaboration.8) Establish the integrated survey and monitoring system (technology and software platform)in northeast China, which can cover the cold black soil, agricultural area, mining area and black soil transition belt.9) Establish an international platform for extensive exchanges and cooperation, data and information sharing in the black soil critical zone.
While establishing cooperation with relevant national scientific research institutions, the proposal of international cooperation project of "the evolution and sustainable utilization of land resources in the black soil critical zone" proposed by Shenyang center was submitted to UNESCO and approved in February this year.
from China land and resources
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