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A joint research project by two institutes of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) will try to evaluate the impact of climate change on Xinjiang’s oasis evolution, according to news from the initiation of the project held on Nov. 30 in Urumuqi, capital of Xinjiang. 

The project, joint undertaken by CAS’ Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography (XIEG) and Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI), will make analysis on Xinjiang’s climate change data in the last five decades. Scientists hope to find a better solution for sustainable development in the oasis area through efforts. 

“Our research will be focused on Xinjiang’s oasis agricultural area in its four districts and the economic belt of north slope of Tianshan mountains,” said TIAN Changyan, vice director of XIEG. 

Statistics show that oasis area in Xinjiang covers about 160,000 square kilometers, 9.7 per cent of the total area of the province. Oasis sustains more than 90 per cent of Xinjiang’s farmland, population, and Gross Domestic Product. 

“Scientists hope to clarify information about the land cover change, vegetation change, and runoff variation in these areas, with the help of spatial model, remote sensing and GIS,” said TIAN.  

The project will evaluate the stability of the oasis ecosystem against the background of increasing climate change, and simulate the distribution and evolution of oasis in Xinjiang, as well as their ecosystem structure. 

Researchers also hope to find the impact of human interference on the stability of the oasis area through the project, and further develop an adaptive solution for the oasis preservation. 

“Climate change and human activity both play important roles in the development of oasis ecosystem stability. The evaluation is expected to provide better theoretical foundation for risk assessment of Xinjiang’s ecological system under climate change background, and for the formulation of ecological security countermeasures,” said Dr. ZHANG Qing, leader of the project from RADI. 

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