The Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography (XIEG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) was established in 1998 through the merger of the Xinjiang Institute of Geography (founded in 1961) and the Xinjiang Institute of Biology, Pedology and Desert Research of CAS (founded in 1965). XIEG dedicates itself to research on resources, ecology and the environment in arid areas. With a focus on sustainable development, XIEG aims to play a leading role in the fields of oasis ecology and desert environment, mineral and biological resources in Xinjiang, Central Asia and the world.
With regard to basic research, XIEG aims to make innovative contributions to the study of resources, ecology and the mechanisms of environmental change in arid areas. In terms of applied research, XIEG seeks to develop new technologies related to resource development and ecological protection.
XIEG has achieved important results in the study of water resource transformation mechanisms and utilization technologies, metallogenic mechanisms and porphyry ore detection, ecological evolution processes, and experimental demonstration of ecosystem management.
Over the past 50 years, XIEG has won nearly 250 awards at the international, national, provincial and ministerial levels. In the past 20 years, the institute has published 176 monographs, 4,775 scientific papers, obtained 165 patents, 90 software copyrights, and bred eight salt-tolerant varieties of crops.
During the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, the institute has achieved the following significant progress:
(1) A multi-scale RS-based ecological security monitoring system for arid areas;
(2) An ecological technology system for cotton aphid control;
(3) A high salinity water greening technology system for flowing desert regions;
(4) An environmental evolution sequencing for the Lop Nur region over the past 10,000 years;
(5) The revealing of plant water relations in temperate desert regions;
(6) The unveiling of the formation mechanisms of biological crusts and their important roles in desert ecosystems;
(7) An ecological restoration and reconstruction technology system for arid inland river ecosystems;
(8) A no-irrigation afforestation technology system for fixed and semi-fixed sandy lands;
(9) A technology system for the cultivation of land productivity and the guarantee of ecological security in arid desert areas;
(10) The carryout of substantial research on resources and environment in Central Asia.
XIEG takes an active role in international science and technology cooperation. In partnership with other organizations, the institute has founded six international centers for arid land research as well as a Central Asian ecological monitoring network, and 17 Chinese and 22 foreign research institutes were involved in the Central Asian studies of XIEG. The institute is currently collaborating on the establishment of the Africa Desertification Control Center in Kenya, the Ecological and Environmental Technology Training Center in Rwanda and a Sino-Pakistan Environmental Institute in Pakistan.
XIEG is home to seven national, CAS and Xinjiang key laboratories, one National Engineering Technology Research Center, and eight research departments. It also operates ten field research stations
XIEG has 365 researchers, 350 support personnel 360 master’s and Ph.D. students and around 30 postdoctoral scholars. In addition, the institute hosts 110 visiting fellows on a short-term basis.
XIEG is a PhD and MSc degree-granting institution by the approval of the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council in 1983. XIEG has two first-level disciplines (Geography and Ecology) and their five second-level disciplines (Physical Geography, Human Geography, Cartography and Geographic Information Systems, Botany and Ecology) for doctoral degree granting respectively; ten first- and second-level disciplines (Physical Geography, Human Geography, Cartography and Geographic Information Systems, Botany and Ecology, Environmental Science, Soil Conservation and Desertification Control, Environmental Engineering, Surveying Engineering and Biological Engineering) for master degree granting, and three postdoctoral research stations (Geography, Biology and Ecology). There are about 362 graduate and doctoral students and 29 post doctors per year.
XIEG has established academic links with more than 50 countries and regions in the world. It completed a number of the national, inter-governmental and inter-institutional cooperation projects, and held over 40 bilateral and multilateral international symposiums. The institute built 9 international centers for arid land’s ecology, water and ecology with America, Japan, Germany, Australia, and five Central Asian countries. A total of 6 international research bases have already been established.
XIEG never ceases in expanding its research fields and regions under a world-orientated strategy. It has signed 28 cooperation agreements with 25 research institutes of Central Asian countries, forging a long-term international cooperation mechanism in resources, ecology and environment fields and achieving a significant shift from regional to global scientific researches.