CAS-ICIMOD Collaboration Project on Carbon Assessment and Ecosystem Management of High Altitude Peatlands Launched


The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has recently approved the CAS-ICIMOD collaborative project on Carbon Assessment and Ecosystem Management of High Altitude Peatlands in the HKH region. The project was funded by the CAS to promote cooperation between Chinese researchers and ICIMOD professionals in assessing carbon dynamics of the peatlands in the region. It was a follow-up project of the ICIMOD-CAS cooperation on greenhouse gas emission from peatlands, which was initially funded by ICIMOD's Innovation Fund in 2013. 

The inception workshop of the project was held in Hongyuan County, Sichuan Province, China from 14-17 July 2014. There were more than 30 participants from CIB, the CAS headquarters, ICIMOD and other well-known Chinese universities and institutes. During the workshop, they clarified the objectives and expected outcomes of the project, and the specific activities and outputs of project implementation for 2014 and 2015.  

The project will be implemented mainly by Chengdu Institute of Biology, CAS, in collaboration with the Ecosystem Theme of ICIMOD. It is different from other CAS-funded projects as it aims at building the capacity and network of ICIMOD partner institutions in the region in wetland carbon assessment and emission studies. As Dr Dong Qi from the CAS said,  “The project shall not place publication of high-impact scientific papers on top priority; instead, we will consider the project a success if it can serve as a platform for scientists and institutions across the HKH region to exchange and catalyze further regional collaborations on studies and researches in the field.”    

During the workshop, the participants also witnessed the unveiling of a CAS-funded field research station in Hongyuan County. CAS hopes that this station, managed by CIB with the support of ICIMOD, will serve as a site within the ICIMOD network for long-term environmental monitoring across the HKH region.  

High-altitude peatlands in the HKH region play an important role in the region's hydrology, carbon cycling, biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic development. Proper understanding of the carbon dynamics of these peatlands is crucial for sustainable management of this unique ecosystem and for improving the livelihoods of the local communities, especially pastoral communities in high-altitude areas. Zoige and Hongyuan of China are home to the largest high-altitude peatlands in the world. CIB and other Chinese institutes have done a lot of pioneering studies on peatlands ecosystem dynamics. The collaboration between ICIMOD and CIB will help build the capacity of the partner institutions in HKH countries for promoting regional research on and monitoring of the high-altitude wetland ecosystem.  

Inception workshop held in Hongyuan on 14-17 July 2014
Peatlands in Hongyuan, China