Sunday, August 10, 2014

Amazing China

Posted by Richard Primack

In August, I was the Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Northeast Forestry University in Harbin in northeastern China. My goal was to work with the faculty and students to develop new research directions in conservation biology and climate change biology.

Harbin, like every Chinese city, is undergoing rapid expansion and modernization, with new apartment complexes being built everywhere. Large numbers of new urban parks are also being built to improve the quality of life for city residents. Many of the parks have themes, such sports parks, ornamental plant parks, and urban wetlands.  Harbin is developing more than 6 large parks at once.

A huge public health problem is the air pollution. Harbin was in a white smoggy mist for more than a week, with air pollution mostly varying from Unhealthy for Sensitive Individuals to Unhealthy to Hazardous.  People are worried about air pollution, but they don’t know what to do about it.


My Chinese colleagues and I visited Wudalianchi National Park, a place with 14 beautiful dormant volcanoes and 5 lakes. Five years ago, the Chinese government moved 30,000 people out of the park interior and re-settled them outside with new jobs and apartments. What other country could do this?

The new Chinese edition of the Essentials of Conservation Biology was published while I was in Harbin. Shown here are my two co-authors, Ma Keping and Jiang Zhigang, who added in Chinese examples and photos. 

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