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Lecture Series: China’s Green Transformation: Prof. Dr. Martin Welp (Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development) “Greening for urban wellbeing: A Sustainability Assessment of the Kökyar Protection Forest in NW China”
June 18, 2019, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
China has made remarkable achievements in increasing forest and vegetation cover in large parts of the country. The Three-North Shelter Forest Program (also known as the great green wall) is one the famous national initiatives to hold back desertification. On the local level, the city of Aksu, located at the fringe of the Taklimakan desert in NW China, started already in the 1980s preparing and planting the so called Kökyar protection forest. It is an ecological engineering project with the intent of protecting the city from frequent dust and sand storms. The forest is well-known in China, has been awarded by the UN and is highlighted as an achievement of the so called “Kökyar-spirit”. We examined the shelterbelt from a broader perspective, embedding Kökyar to the wider context of social and environmental problems in South Xinjiang. Results affirm the economic sustainability of the shelterbelt, but see a mixed record for the social sphere as well as negative trade-offs when looking at the ecological dimensions — especially due high water consumption of the protection forest (a combination of poplar shelterbelts and orchards) and its impacts down-stream. There is a trade-off between artificial shelterbelt plantations for urban ecosystem services on the one hand side, and natural riparian forests and their biodiversity on the other hand side. In such agroforestry schemes systemic interactions need to be considered and locally adapted species favored.
Martin Welp holds a professorship in Socioeconomics and Communication at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (Faculty of Forest and Environment). He is head of the International Master Study Programme Global Change Management (M.Sc.). He earned his Doctoral degree at the Technische Universität Berlin in Germany and his Master’s degree in Forestry at the University of Helsinki in Finland. Before his current position he worked as senior researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Department Global Change and Social Systems. He is engaged in stakeholder dialogues in science-policy-platforms as well as in management, researching positions and agreements among actors, dialogue methods and the theoretical framing of such dialogues. Research projects have focused on global (environmental) change with special attention to socio-economic dimensions and human well-being. Past projects include among others SuMaRiO – Sustainable Management of River Oases along the Tarim River / China funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The full list of projects and publications in the field of climate mitigation and adaptation as well natural resources management (integrated coastal zone management, integrated river basin management, forest management, and arid land management can be found at URL: www.hnee.de/welp.
Image source: CC BY-SA 2.0., Louis Dallara, Dead Cedar Trees, https://flic.kr/p/4Xh7cn