New study helps enhance eco-protection of Qilian Mountains

By Hu Tao, Zhang Wenjing (Xinhua) 15:06, June 07, 2022

LANZHOU, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Chinese researchers have achieved new progress in projecting surface air temperature and precipitation of the Qilian Mountains, a key ecological barrier in western China, according to Lanzhou University.

The latest study indicates the prospects of the mid-eastern Qilian Mountains to experience drought conditions in future warm seasons, said Gou Xiaohua, researcher at the College of Earth and Environmental Sciences of Lanzhou University and leader of the research team.

"The study could be a reference in ensuring a stable ecological system and sustaining socio-economic development of the region," Gou said.

The team used simulations of the regional climate model for the study. Their results suggest that the mid-eastern parts of the Qilian Mountains are likely to experience drought conditions during warm seasons in the future, especially under a high emission scenario, which could impact agricultural and livestock production.

The study results have been published online in the journal Advances in Climate Change Research.

The Qilian Mountains is a vast mountain range that spans the border of Gansu and Qinghai provinces, with an average altitude of over 4,000 meters.

Its ecological environment once suffered serious damages due to global warming and other problems such as over-exploitation of natural resources.

China has made efforts to protect and restore the ecological environment in the Qilian Mountains, the Sanjiangyuan (Three-River-Source) area, and other important regions.

Northwest China's Gansu Province has invested 19.5 billion yuan (about 2.9 billion U.S. dollars) for ecological restoration and sustainable development of the Qilian Mountains since 2017.

The money has been used for grassland protection, wetland protection, soil and water conservation, glacier protection as well as forest restoration and environmental management for the mining industry.

The restoration projects have yielded fruitful results with the influence of human activities on the protected areas effectively controlled, and the damaged areas well-repaired, according to monitoring data of the water conservation and forest research institute of the Qilian Mountains.

"Therefore, it is important to estimate the future climate change of the Qilian Mountains, and provide further references to ecological protection and agricultural and livestock production works," Gou said. 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Hongyu)


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