Earth Sciences
Bojie Fu
The ecological and environmental effects of land use changes in the Loess Plateau of China
Abstract:The Loess Plateau is a typical ecologically fragile area in China, with severe water shortage and soil erosion. Understanding the interactions between land use structure and ecological processes is the basis for effective soil and water conservation. Since the implementation of the large-scale vegetation restoration projects, changes in carbon and water services, and their trade-offs in the Loess Plateau have become a new scientific challenge. Dr. Fu developed a comprehensive analytical paradigm of "pattern-process-service" based on the field observation, remote sensing monitoring and model calculation. Firstly, the effects of land use changes on soil erosion, soil nutrients, and moisture were studied at multiple spatial scales of plot, transect, catchment, and region, systematically studied the mechanisms of the interactions between land use structure and ecological processes in the Loess Plateau. Secondly, developed models and methods for assessing ecosystem services trade-off and quantified the trade-offs between carbon sequestration and water production in the vegetation restoration of the Loess Plateau, revealed that the current vegetation restoration was close to the carrying capacity threshold. Thirdly, developed a spatially explicit assessment and optimization tool for regional ecosystem services and revealed the spatial-temporal dynamics of ecosystem services in the Loess Plateau including water retention, soil conservation, carbon sequestration, and food production. This new decision-supporting tool is capable of spatially optimizing multiple ecosystem services by combining scenario-analysis and ecosystem service–quantification models with a spatial optimization algorithm. Those findings promoted the development of physical geography from qualitative structure description to quantitative process research, led ecosystem services research into the processes mechanism and comprehensive integration, and provided key scientific basis for the ecological restoration of the Loess Plateau. 
Awardee:Bojie Fu was born in 1958 at Xianyang, Shaanxi Province. He received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in geography from the Shaanxi Normal University, a Ph.D. in Physical Geography from Split Ph.D. Programme in Peking University and the University of Stirling, and an Honorary Doctorate from Western Michigan University. He is Vice-President of the International Geographical Union, Chief Supervisor of the Geographical Society of China, and Deputy Director of the National Expert Advisory Committee on Ecological Protection and Restoration. He is an elected academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences, an International Honorary Member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), and a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society Edinburgh. 
Bojie Fu’s scientific achievements include developing the science of land use patterns and ecological processes interaction and bringing it to guide the real-world practice in land degradation restoration. He has conducted pioneering, indeed, and landmark work on water, vegetation, and soil interactions and ecological restoration in ecologically vulnerable regions. He developed a spatially explicit assessment and optimization tool for regional ecosystem services and clarified the formation and interaction mechanisms of ecosystem services. He has made very substantial contributions to our understanding of land degradation and ecological restoration. These studies provided the scientific basis for China’s “Grain-for-Green” Program and generated valuable ecological and social benefits, making China the leading position in the greening of the world through ecosystem restoration and management. He has won the China National Natural Sciences Award (2005 and 2020), the National Sciences and Technology Advanced Award, the award for Distinguished Scientific Achievement of the CAS, Ho Leung Ho Lee Science and Technology Progress Award, Alexander Von Humboldt Medal of European Geoscience Union, the CCTV 2019  Scientific and Technological Innovation Award and National outstanding professional and technical personnel.