New article in Land Degradation & Development

Our new article “Vegetation restoration in Northern China: A contrasted picture was just published in Land Degradation and Development. Lead author Feng Wang was a visiting professor in the Caylor Lab at Princeton for a year back in 2014 and we have been collaborating since then. See the abstract below for a quick overview of the study and results or head over to Land Degradation and Development’s website to read the full paper.


China started a long-term effort to mitigate desertification and ensure the sustainability of its environment by implementing multiple large-scale national ecological restoration projects since 1978, but their success has been highly debated for a long time. Here, we estimated the change of vegetation fraction cover (VFC) in the ThreeNorth Shelterbelt Programme (TNSP) region over the past three decades on the basis of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index dataset from the Global Inventory Monitoring and Modeling System. We evaluate the national strategy of vegetation restoration in North China by comparing rainfall patterns, vegetation change, and national ecological restoration programs on the basis of the Global Meteorological Forcing Dataset and the China Forestry Statistical Yearbooks. We find that the western, central, and eastern parts of the TNSP region exhibited a distinct increase in vegetation coverage. The western region had the highest increase in annual precipitation, but this did not result in the highest VFC increase. We infer that ecological restoration activities are the factor leading to the observed increase in VFC in the eastern and central region compared with the western region. The low survival rate of planted trees in the forest of the TNSP region indicates that it is necessary to improve the mode of vegetation restoration to obtain optimal returns and avoid excessive investment. The success of new strategies, for example, natural restoration and quasi-natural afforestation are promising as an alternative method. China’s experiences in reforestation will be very beneficial for other countries to promote land degradation mitigation and vegetation improvement in the arid and semiarid areas.


Over the past few months, I have been busy with conferences and talks, starting with a talk at the AGU Fall Meeting in Washington DC on my work using CYGNSS to look at rainfall interception. In January, I visited Caltech for the CYGNSS Science Team meeting. I went on to give a talk for the Environmental Engineering and Water Resources Seminar Series in the CEE department here at the University of Michigan. Finally, I gave a guest lecture for the Environmental Science Seminar at Iowa State University, hosted by Pr. Brian Hornbuckle.

 Recently, the Green Life Sciences Symposium I presented at in September 2018 uploaded all the presentations to Youtube. You can see my talk below, or follow this link to see the rest of the presentations.

Green Life Sciences Symposium 2018

Last week, I attended the Green Life Sciences Symposium organized by the Green Life Sciences Initiative at the University of Michigan. The two-day symposium brought together plant scientists from all over the US and a few international places. I gave a talk on my recent paper looking at the effects of dew deposition on leaf transpiration using stable isotopes. For me, it was especially great to connect with plant scientists at the University of Michigan that I had not had a chance to interact with yet. The organizers also worked really hard to ensure that women and POC were represented, and we got to see multiple talks by inspiring women in the field, including Johanna SchmittBeronda Montgomery, and Deborah Goldberg.

Interview on the AGU Ecohydrology website

Inspired by the AGU Centennial Celebration and how ecohydrology has grown in the last 100 years, the AGU Ecohydrology Technical Committee I am part of has been adding a “leaf” to the ecohydrology tree week-by-week by introducing a new ecohydrologist every week and how their experiences helped shape the perspective they contribute.

I was featured this week and answered a few questions on my vision of the field. Head over to the AGU Ecohydrology website to check it out!

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