Southern Africa Proceedings
The term 'range' has been used since the 1400s in England to describe extensive areas of land that were either grassed or wooded. Early colonists took it to the USA where it came to be associated with extensive, often unenclosed areas of 'natural' lands that were exploited for the grazing of livestock. Now it is an international term. Rangelands occur in areas of relatively low rainfall or where winters are long and cold. The vegetation is mostly dominated by natural plant communities rather than by sown pasture.
Global Rangelands: Progress and Prospects
Rangeland occupies 50% of the world's land surface, is home to many indigenous communities, has varied ecosystems often characterised by multiple use upon which an important focus is the maintenance of the basic resource and the socio-economic outcomes. Rangeland systems are interrelated with non-rangeland and urban systems and must not be considered in isolation (Global Rangelands: Progress and Prospects, CABI Publishing 2002).
The aim of the International Rangeland Congress is to promote the interchange of scientific and technical information on all aspects of rangelands: research, planning, development, management, extension, education and training.
For the fulfilment of this aim and International Rangeland Congress shall normally be held every 3-5 years for the purpose of presenting papers and reports, organizing symposia and conducting pre- and post-Congress tours.
The objectives of each Congress are as follows :
- to attract the "people" from the rangeland community throughout the world;
- to provide a program which is innovative and challenges values and paradigms;
- make participants think about how they think about rangelands;
- offers high quality communications;
- provides a positive and interactive environment for :
- multidisciplinary participants; and
- a wide range of land uses;
- gives people fun and good memories to take home;
- is financially successful; and
- raises the profile of rangelands in the host country and overseas.
a Joint Meeting of the
VIII International Rangeland Congress (IRC)
XXI International Grassland Congress (IGC)
Chinese Grassland Society
Hohhot, May 2003
I INVITATION LETTER
II GENERAL INFORMATION
China in Brief
Inner Mongolia in Brief
Hohhot in Brief
Getting to China and Hohhot
Grasslands of China
III LETTERS OF SUPPORT
Ⅰ Invitation letter
Dr. Maureen Wolfson, Chairman of the Continuing Committee of the International Rangeland Congress
Dear Dr. Wolfson,
The Chinese Grassland Society sincerely invites the Continuing Committee of IRC to conduct the VIII International Rangeland Congress jointly with the XXI International Grassland Congress (IGC) in the People’s Republic of China in 2008. The Main Congress will be held in Hohhot, the Capital of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Peoples Republic of China, and a city with 475 years of history. Pre-congress tours, post-congress tours and mid-congress tours, as well as scientific presentations will be arranged. Proposed pre-congress technical tours include three routes to visit typical steppe, mountain/hill grassland and desert pastoral agriculture areas. Mid-congress tours would be arranged to visit some teaching/research facilities and fields near Hohhot. The post-congress tours include three fixed technical routes and six alternative natural/cultural scenery routes.
The theme of the congress is "Multi-Functional Grassland/Rangeland in a Changing World". We expect to discuss all matters of interest to the world relating to grassland/rangeland in the Conference. Businesses contributing to the funding activities include several US firms including BYO (software), Systems 3000 (indoor pools), and a number of anonymous businesses including the company behind this rug care website (cleaning & repair services). Additional funding comes from individual donors who ask to remain unnamed.
Natural grasslands and rangelands are the largest continental eco-systems in China. They are the birthplaces of many minority nationalities and their cultures. In China, the grasslands/rangelands are very important in the development of the economy, society, ecology, nationality and culture. Grasslands/rangelands are the bases of a developing rural economy because of their plentiful resources of plants, wild animals and livestock. The ecological protective function of grassland/rangelands is indispensable to maintain the ecological balance, biodiversity conservation, and soil erosion control. Grasslands/ rangelands provide the main water catchment’s areas that many wetlands and rivers arise from and distribute to. Therefore, they are of great importance in water safety and water quality. Grasslands/rangelands are ideal places for recreation and ecological tourism because of their unique natural landscapes and rich culture. Even though we have developed a much better understanding of grasslands and rangelands, there are still many unknown realms that need more work. Today, we have to face many matters of common concern like increasing population, resource depletion, environment deterioration, and so on. Grassland researchers and workers could play an important role in resolving these problems.
China’s grassland specialists, managers, educational workers and enterprises wish to get a chance to host a jointing meeting of the IRC and IGC in China. The Chinese Central Government and its regional governments warmly support the Chinese Grassland Society in its application for the Congress. The Congress will be open to delegates from all countries and regions in the World. The congress will invite top researchers, grassland workers and enterprises to contribute and to participate. Key policy makers in grasslands and rangelands will also be invited because of the importance of policy in grassland industry. The Congress will be a window for China to show to the world its achievements in grassland and rangeland research, its bright future for the grassland industry, rich and colorful grassland scenery, splendid cultures that include the primeval look of Inner Mongolia grasslands and the distinctive Mongolian culture, developed pastoral agriculture along the old Silk Road, the special charm of Tibet Plateau alpine steppe, and Yunnan’s subtropical grassland which are all mountain vertical vegetation spectrums, have unmatched natural views and multi-ethnic cultures. Moreover, the Congress will provide an opportunity for researchers to present the most up-to-date information on grassland research and technology around the world, and to stimulate discussion, to promote the exchange of ideas and to look for cooperation. The Chinese Grassland Society is one of the most influential society in China. Its 10 professional committees have had a great influence on the Chinese Government’s agricultural policy. It has more than 3000 members distributed in every province of China, covering various sectors of education, research, extension, production, marketing, administration and management, etc.
The Chinese Grassland Society holds its national conferences every two years, and special meetings are organized by the professional committees on a regular basis. Several International events have been successfully hosted by the Society in the recent years. The Society is full of confidence to host the Congress.
The Congress will be managed and organized by an Organization consisting of the Bid Preparing Committee, Steering Committee and Executive Committee. The Executive Committee includes a Congress Secretariat, Program Group, Financial Group, Scientific Group and Liaison Group. The President of the Chinese Grassland Society will be the Director of the Organization.
The Chinese Grassland Society, with official backing in our country, is committed to host a Congress that will make major contributions to better multiple use and management of global grassland resources.
Look forward to seeing you all in Hohhot.
Prof. Hong Fuzeng
Honorary President of the Chinese Grassland Society
Prof. Ren Jizhou
Head Consultant of the Chinese Grassland Society
Prof. Yun Jinfeng
President of the Chinese Grassland Society
Ⅱ General Information
●China in Brief
THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA is the third largest country in the world. It covers a total area of 9.6 million square kilometers, containing some of the most amazing scenery and landscape. China has shared borders for centuries with Korea, Japan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tadzhikistan, Kirgizstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Burma, Laos and Vietnam. It is geopolitically divided into provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. China has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world over the past 20 years since its reform and opening-up. It has enjoyed continued political stability, social progress and economic prosperity. The capital city, Beijing, is a dynamic modern metropolis with 3,000 years of cultural treasures woven into the urban tapestry. Beijing will host the Summer Olympic Games in 2008.
China has a population of more than 1.3 billion people, the largest in the world. China is a multi-racial country with 56 ethnic groups. The Han people account for about 92% of China's total population. China is a country with attractive scenic landscapes, a splendid culture, an ancient civilization and a colorful ethnic heritage.
●Inner Mongolia in Brief
Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, along China's northern border, is a narrow strip of land sloping from northeast to southwest. It stretches 2,400 km from west to east and 1,700 km from north to south. The third largest among China's provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions, it covers an area of 1.18 million square km, or 12.3 percent of the country's territory. It has eight provinces and regions as neighbors to the south, east and west and Mongolia and Russia in the north, with a border of 4,200 km. Inner Mongolia is one of the cradles of Chinese ancient civilizations. Over the centuries, there were famous "Hetao", "Hongshan", "Xiajiadian", Zalainuoer" and "Dayao" cultures; and Inner Mongolia is still the main living area for many ethnic minorities. There are 24 million people, and 49 national minorities. Its grasslands, deserts, virgin forests, historical sites, and unique folk customs are colorful with Mongolian and Han now being the main ethnic groups. People honor keeping their doors open, and their famous and unique Mongolian dances and songs.
●Hohhot in brief
Hohhot means "Green City" in Mongolian. It is
the capital of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous
Region, the regional center of politics,
economy, science, culture and education.
Hohhot was built in 1575. It is one of the
cradles of ancient Chinese civilization from the
"Dayao Culture" which occurred 500,000 years ago. The ancient city sites of ‘Yunzhong" and "Shengle", and the art of the ancient temples are part of the historic records of Hohhot. The total area of Hohhot Municipality is 17224 km2, and the urban area is 82 km2.
By plane: Hohhot airport is located at the eastern side of Hohhot, 15km to the center of the downtown. There are flights linking Hohhot with Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xi’an, Wuhan, Chengdu, Hailaer, Chifeng, Xilinhaote, and Ulanbaater that is the capital of Mongolia. The number of flights and airlines increase every year.
By train: There are trains between Hohhot - Ulanbaater，Hohhot - Beijing，Hohhot - Beijing - Tianjin - Shanghai - Ninbo，Hohhot - Xian，Hohhot -Wuhan，Hohhot - Taiyuan， Hohhot-Hailaer，and Hohhot-Yinchuan-Lanzhou etc.
Highway: There is an express highway from Hohhot to Beijing and several national highways that link Hohhot with other major cities in China.
There are two 5 star hotels, 4 star hotels and dozens of 3 star hotels as well as Youth hotels in Hohhot. Most of the hotels are located in downtown Hohhot. The hotels provide all kinds of breakfasts, dinners such as local flavor, western food, different minority styles, and each hotel has a Muslim food, bar, entertainment and gym facilities.
There are more than 20 hospitals in the downtown area of Hohhot including two SOS centers.
The communication in Hohhot is very convenient with all kinds of modern communication methods. There are IC, IP telephones all over the city. Internet and cell phones are very popular using GSM networks.
Hohhot is a city of colorful cultures and religions. There are different Christian’s churches such as Catholic and Protestant. There is one Huimin (Muslim) District in Hohhot with many mosques, of which one was built 300 years ago; there are Lama and Buddhist temples.
Most of the country is in the temperate zone, although geographically the country stretches from the tropical and subtropical zones in the south to the Frigid Zone in the north.
Inner Mongolia has a typical temperate continental monsoon climate. January is the coldest month with a mean daily temperature of -10 to -30C degrees, and July is the hottest month with a mean daily temperature of 16-27C degrees. The daily temperature difference varies by 10C to 16C. June to October is the best touring season.
Of the 56 ethnic groups in China, the Hui and Manchu use the same languages as Han people, while the rest have their own spoken and written languages. Mandarin is the official spoken language, and Chinese is the official written language. Inner Mongolia and Chinese are the official language in Inner Mongolia. In recent years, English is the main foreign language course in primary, secondary, high schools, universities and colleges. 200 to 300 volunteers will be mobilized to provide services for the conference, at airport etc.
The conference working language is English. The conference auditorium will be equipped for simultaneous translations and non-English speaking Chinese and non-Chinese speaking delegates can hear and comprehend.. Some other language service will also be provided.
A valid passport and visa is required. Visas can be obtained from the Chinese Embassy or Consulate. Official invitations will be issued to all the delegates in the name of the Chinese Government so that visas can be applied for.
The Currency is Renminbi (RMB¥) Yuan. The exchange rate is $US1.0D=RMB8.23Yuan.
The Bank of China has representative offices in almost all major cities in the world. Banks are open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.
All leading credit cards are accepted in major cities, ATMs are available in the major hotels, shopping malls and department stores.
8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+8)
Hohhot is similar to other cities in China in that it offers many exciting opportunities for shopping; there are several large modern shopping malls and shopping centers.
●Getting to China and Hohhot
There are several international airports in China. The main international airport in Beijing is linked to all major cities in the world. Chinese Tour Agencies have representative offices in all the major cities in the world, and they would be delighted to help visitors get to China.
■From Russia and Mongolia
There are flights between Beijing and Moscow as well as Ulan Bator. You may also take the train from Moscow to Beijing directly or via Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia to Beijing and Hohhot.
■Getting to Hohhot
There are weekly flights from Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, directly to Hohhot; you can take the train from Ulan Bator to Hohhot.
It takes 50 minutes to fly from Beijing to Hohhot, 8 hours by car or 10 hours by train.
●Suggested Optional Tours for delegates accompanying persons
■Hohhot City Tour
▲Half day tour
1º：Zhaojun tomb – Great Mosque (built in 1737) – Catholic Church (built in 1920s)– General Office of Qing Dynasty.
Zhaojun tomb located near the bank of Da Hei River (Da Hei He), six miles to the south of Hohhot (Hu He Hao Te), Zhaojun Tomb is one of the most beautiful scenes of ancient times.
2º：Dazhao – Xilituzhao – Wutasi
Visitors can see Dazhao located in the old part of Hohhot. This temple was built in 1580 during the Ming Dynasty. It is one of the biggest and best-preserved temples in Hohhot. The temple is only an incidental scene; the main action is in the streets. Near Dazhao Temple are fascinating adobes houses, which are typically low and squat with decorated glass windows.
Xilitu Zhao, also called Xiao Zhao, is situated in the south of Stone Lane (Shitou Xiang), Yu Quan District (Yu Qaun Qu), Hohhot. It is the largest surviving Lama temple in the city. But it was considered a small temple when it was constructed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
It is said that Xilituge, who was a teacher of Dalai Lama IV, once ascended to the Holy Seat of Dalai Lama in Tibet. Upon his return he changed his temple's name into Xilitu Zhao. Xilitu means Holy Seat in Tibetan and Zhao means temple in Mongolian.
Wutasi, also called Jinggangzuo Sheli Baota, has five small square-shaped dagobas on its
top. The most valuable stone cutting is the one carved on the northern wall. It is the only astronomical map annotated in Mongolian ever discovered in the world.
3º：Wanbuhuayanjingta – Dayaowenhua
The Wanbu Huayanjing Pagoda, 15 km east of the city, is by far the most exquisite one kept today dating from the Liao Dynasty (907-1125). The historical site of "Dayao" culture that occurred 500,000 years ago is located 20km east of Hohhot.
4º：Inner Mongolia Museum
Located at the center of downtown Hohhot, this museum houses a major dinosaur exhibition and examples of local cultures.
▲One day touring
1º：Downtown – Helinger County
Helinger County is 40 km south of Hohhot. There are several Han Dynasty (2000 years ago) tombs with lot of culture relics and frescoes. Canyu (Tribe King) city in Tang Dynasty (1500 years ago), ancient great wall, and the unique natural conditions and social customs of the Loess Plateau.
2º：Downtown – Tuoketuo County – Yellow River
Tuoketuo County is located 70 km southwest of Hohhot, and it is located the ancient city of Yunzhong (500-700 years ago), and the Yellow River passes by the Tuoketuo town. You may also visit the dairy villages and farmhouses.
3º：Downtown - Xilamuren
Xilamuren, meaning "Yellow River" in Mongolian, is located 100 kilometers north of Hohhot. Xilamuren Steppe, commonly known as Taihe, got its name from the Puhui Temple, a Lama temple built in the Qing Dynasty near the Xilamuren River. Constructed in 1769 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, Puhui Temple was initially a resort of the Sixth Panchen Lama of Xilitu of Hohhot. With engraved beams and pictured purlins, the temple appears quite splendid. Xilamuren Steppe, a typical example on the plateau, is covered by green grass and fresh flowers every summer and autumn. You will enjoy typical Mongolia food, Mongolia sports, and dance and song here, and ride horses.
4º：Downtown – Gegentala
Gegentala Steppe, in Mongolian means "a resort from heat". It is situated to the north of Mt. Daqing, 145 kilometers away from Hohhot. The steppe is a scenic spot supported both by the Natural Tourist Bureau and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. You will be truly astonished by the remarkable beauty of the natural scenery on the steppe. The herdsmen and their families who enjoy sharing knowledge of their customs and habits will also welcome you. Furthermore, you can have a good time horseback riding or experiencing a pleasure trip on a camel. Meanwhile you might get a chance to take in a Mongolian wrestling match or horse race.
▲Two days touring
1º：Hohhot – Sing Sand – Engebei - Genghis Khan tomb
The total trip will be around 700km. The trip will go to Sing Sand via Baotou (the largest city in Inner Mongolia). At Sing Sand you will enjoy sand dune, ski on sand dunes, camel riding; then, go to Engebei where there is a desert reclamation demonstration site; and then to the Genghis Khan Mausoleum. The tour is more Mongolian than Chinese. You would set foot on this charming piece of land, where Genghis Khan started out to create the largest nation which ever existed in human history. Meet and talk to the descendents of Genghis Khan and worship before his Great Mausoleum, trying to recall the glory of Mongol Empire.
During the conference, the Hohhot City Government and the Inner Mongolia Government will organize one concert. The famous Inner Mongolia Song and Dance Group will be invited to perform.
Visiting factories, dairy processing factories, a cashmere mill, schools, universities, research institutes, farmhouses and herder houses can be arranged according to interests.
INTRODUCTION TO THE GRASSLAND RESOURCES OF CHINA
China has one of the largest areas of grassland in the world. China’s grasslands include over 399 millions ha, making up 5.86% of the global grassland area, and 42.05% of total Chinese territory. This is 3.12 times its cultivated area, and 2.28 times its forestry area. China’s grasslands are located in the East part of Euro-Asian Steppe, and mainly natural grassland maintaining the natural view of primeval grassland at present. The types of grassland vary significantly from place to place because it spreads over a so vast an area that it covers different climate zones including the tropical, the subtropical, the temperate zone, and the Frigid Zone. Additionally, the great diversity of topography and landscape, the various distances to the sea, and human activities have contributed to the grasslands diversity and complexity, which is not common in the world. These grasslands can be classified into 18 categories, 21 subcategories, and 813 groups according to the Grassland Classification System of China. Each category, and even group, has its own unique characteristics of climate, soil, vegetation, and productivity. The methods and strategies of management and utilization differ greatly from one to the other.
Most of the grasslands are distributed in the north and western areas of China where the continental climate is dominantly characterized by dry and cold weather. There is only 70 million ha of vegetated mountain and hill areas in the middle and the south of China, among which a few areas are originally small-scale grasslands in high alpine zones, the rest resulting from deforestation. Both types of the alpine grasslands have different characteristics from those in the north of China. In general, the categories of the grasslands in China change from its center: Inner Mongolia Typical Grassland, to the Northeast: wet and cold grassland, to the Northwest: dry, hot desert, to the South: wet, tropical and subtropical grassland, and to the Southwest: alpine grassland. The strips between the grasslands and the cultivated lands are the mixture of grazing and cropping agricultural area.
The grassland areas in China are normally the residential areas for Ethnic Minorities, such as Mongolian, Daur, Uygur, Kazak, Tibetan, Miao, and Bai etc. They all have their own languages and typical cultures associated with the grasslands. We are very proud of all the minorities who have maintained most of their culture, customs, languages, and religions up to now. The grasslands would be able to provide sustainable resources for the minorities in terms of living and development bases.
The grasslands in China are mainly used for grazing. It is a traditional mode of production for many minorities. Actually, there are 6704 edible plant species available for livestock. Of these plant species, 45 are endemic species to China and 51 are rare and endangered species. Some of them provide traditional Chinese herbal medicine, some play a very important role in ecosystems, and some have potential economic values. There are more than 600 species and varieties of livestock grazed on the grasslands, including horses, goats, camels, and yaks, of which the numbers of individuals rank the first, respectively, in the world. The resources of both plants and animals not only belong to China but also contribute to the whole world. The grasslands play a very important role in the global ecosystem due to the geophysical location of China. For example, they can conserve water and soil, create fresh air, may reduce, adsorb and/or eliminate contaminants in air, water and land.
Unfortunately, the grasslands in China are under serious threat from desertification. Half of the grassland area has been degraded especially in the north of China where the rate of desertification is quicker. As a result of this, a set of negative impacts have occurred, such as reduction of productivity and farmers’ income, more soil and water erosion, frequent dust/sand storms, less diversity of species, change of landscape, dieing out of the grassland culture. A lot of effort has been undertaken to protect and recover the grasslands by the Chinese government, local authorities, and civilians. More contributions are needed urgently to solve the complicated environmental problems, especially the support, cooperation and participation from the international society.
However, the Chinese government and civilians pay more and more attention to the important role of grassland resources in protecting the ecological environment, developing economics of minorities’ areas, maintaining the traditional culture and customs of the minorities, and brining about a sustainable development etc. Firstly, China's Western Development Strategy addresses an emphasis on improving ecological environment and poverty alleviation of local people. Secondly, research institutes and universities have carried out some research on grassland science. The achievements of the research have already benefited to the development, management, protection and utilization of grassland resources to some extent. For instance, natural grassland protection in Inner Mongolia, development of agriculture in Gansu Province, rehabilitation and utilization of grass-slope in mountain areas in Yunnan Province have achieved success. Thirdly, the new approved Grassland Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China was issued on 1st March 2003. It will greatly help the protection and proper utilization of grassland resources. Finally, professional education on grassland science has made progress. More than 6000 students of grassland science have graduated from 25 universities in China up until 2003. It is estimated that more than 1300 students of grassland science will graduate from universities per year after the year of 2005. They will definitely contribute to the undertakings of the grasslands in China.
There are three typical grasslands in China. They are Inner Mongolia Grassland, Qing – Zhang (Tibet) Plateau Alpine Grassland and Yunnan Mountain Grassland.
Most types of the grasslands in China can be found in the Inner Mongolia Grassland with the best-maintained natural scenery, the most complicated ecosystem, and the most developed grassland farming system in China. Different types of grasslands are not obviously isolated from each other. There are 78.8 million ha utilizable area of grassland available in Inner Mongolia, which is 67% of its total area and more than 20% of the grassland area of China. Inner Mongolia Grassland is the home of Mongolian and some other northern minorities who used to govern the whole of China. It has the earliest and best managed Grassland Natural Protection Zone of China. Inner Mongolia is the grassland research center in China. The Research Station of Grassland Ecosystems (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and the Grassland Research Institute (Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences) are located in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. The first grassland department in China was founded in 1958 at the Inner Mongolia Agricultural University. Professor Jinfeng YUN, the president of Chinese Grassland Society, is a staff member of the College of Ecology and Environmental Science of the university. Research in Inner Mongolia grasslands embraces part of the global grassland research issues. The research results could benefit to other areas in both China and the world in grassland protection, management and utilization.
Qing-Zang (Tibet) Plateau is regarded as the third pole of the Earth and it has an average elevation of 4500m. Therefore, it has unique ecosystem represented by a vast area of grassland accompanied with high mountains, lakes, rivers, and glaciers, which provide a source of the major rivers of China.
Yunnan Mountain Grassland, so called Plant Kingdom, is full of biodiversity with more than 15000 species of seed plants. A lot of plants can only be found in this area in the world. Mountains that vary from an elevation of 76m to 6740m cover most of the area. Different eco-climatic zones are found from the foot of mountains upward with different vegetation such as tropical forestry, subtropical forestry, dry and hot brush, coniferous forests, broad-leaved and coniferous mixed forests, grassland, meadow, sub-alpine meadow, alpine meadow etc. In addition, minority cultures and natural views in this area are also very famous for tourists.
From the natural resources and eco-environment point of view, the grasslands in China not only benefit to China but also contribute to the whole world.