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Introduction to the Discipline of Ecology
History: The Ecology Discipline of Northeast Forestry University (NEFU) was founded in 1952; it became the first discipline to recruit graduate students among China’s forestry universities in 1962; it was first authorized to have master’s and doctoral degrees in 1981; was named the key discipline in China’s Forestry Department in 1992; established a postdoctoral program in biology in 1995; was promoted one of China’s Key Disciplines in 2002; was named the national ecology doctoral program and key ecology discipline in Heilongjiang province in 2011; and established the national ecology postdoctoral program in 2012.

Missions and Orientations: To maintain the discipline’s characteristics and the leading position in forest ecology in China; to combine needs for the sustainable development of forestry and construction of the ecological civilization; to strengthen the superiorities of the research directions in global change ecology, restoration ecology, and ecosystem ecology;to strive to build a strong research-team and to undertake national major scientific research projects; to put great efforts on carbon sink forestry in northern forests, striving to achieve major breakthroughs in the mechanism of response and adaptation of northern forests to global change, and support degradation mechanisms of northern forest ecosystems.

Research Directions: The NEFU Ecological Discipline has four distinctive research directions: (1) Global change ecology, which focuses on ecosystem structure, functioning and dynamics in multiple spatiotemporal scales, and their responses, adaptation and feedback to global changes. This provides scientific support for climate-change adaptive forestry, maintenance of national and regional ecological security, and supply of forest ecosystem services. (2) Ecosystem ecology, which focuses on the carbon, nitrogen, and water cycles and their interactions in northern forest ecosystems, and provides theoretical and technical support for conservation and sustainable management of northern forest resources. (3) Restoration ecology, which focuses on the theory and practice of reforestation and restoration of degraded forest ecosystems, and provides technical support for the restoration, conservation and sustainable development of low-yielding natural forests and plantations. (4) Environmental ecology, which focuses on aquatic environmental pollution, cropland pollution and energy issues, and the theory and technology of ecological processing of organic and heavy-metal pollutants and hydrogen production by the fermentation of organic wastes.

Research TermDiscipline leader: Prof. Wang Chuankuan; Discipline manager: Prof. JinGuangze. Currently the NEFU Ecology Discipline has one Chang Jiang Scholar Professor-in-residence, one winner of the National Outstanding Youth Foundation, one winner of the New Century Excellent Talents Support Program of Education Ministry, and one Chang Jiang Scholars Innovation team. There are sixteen full-time facultyand seven part-time faculty, including thirteen professors, three associate professors, two lecturers, one assistant professor, and an office manager.

Superiorities and Features: The NEFU Ecology Discipline has formed the characteristics of forest ecology and the platform of national field research station. It is aiming at the international research frontier and serving the national ecological security and ecological civilization construction. It has a long history, persistent research directions and a strong academic team, and has made great achievements in research and practices in carbon sink forestry and wildfire ecology in China’s northern forests.

Cultivation: (1) Cultivation goals: to cultivate high-quality personnel with solid foundation of ecological theories, systematic professional knowledge, standing at the frontier of ecology, proficient experimental skills and good adaptability, ability of doing ecological research independently and publishing high-level academic papers; particular focus on some talents who are influential in the fields of ecology, forestry and environmental sciences.(2) Cultivation quantity: Education has expanded from undergraduate students, to master’sdegree and doctoral students. Since its establishment, the NEFU Ecology Discipline has authorized 383 master and 138 Ph.D. degrees to postgraduatestudents, and supplied several senior ecology talents for China. Now, the annual enrollment scale is about around 20 students for master degrees and around 10 students for doctoral degrees.

Scientific Level: The NEFU Ecology Discipline has won two second prizes of National Scientific and Technological Progress, one Provincial/Ministerial first prize, nine Provincial/Ministerial second prizes, and one first and one second prize of the Provincial Excellent Teaching Achievement. Since 2011, the faculty of the discipline has been undertaking 28 national, provincial and ministerial scientific research projects with total funding of 27-million Yuan, and published more than 500 papers in peer-review journals, of which more than 100 have been cited by SCI.

Domestic and International Influences: The NEFU Ecological Discipline has an important influence in the forest ecology field in China. The discipline has been producing a large number of high-quality personnel in ecology. The older generation of ecologists, such as Academician Yang Hanxi, Professors Wang Zhan, Zhou Chongguang, Wang Yequ, Li Jingwen, and Zhou Xiaofeng, established the NEFU Ecology program, published the first textbook of Forest Ecology, and initiated China’s Long-term Forest Ecosystem Research Networks. The currentactive outstanding ecologists, such as Professors Wang Chuankuan, Liu Shirong, and Zhou Guoyi, have been educated in the NEFU Ecological Discipline. The discipline has been making a significant contribution to the development of China’s ecology. Since its establishment in 1952, the ecology Discipline has taken a leap per decade to the top10% of China’s ecology disciplines to date, and maintained a leading position in the forest ecology field. It also has great influence in the world boreal forest research. The discipline hosted the 14th International Boreal Forest Research Association Conference with more than 100 participants from Russia, Norway, Canada, USA, Sweden, Finland, Japan, Austria, and China, which greatly expanded the influence of the NEFU Ecology Discipline in the world.