Organised Symposia

The following symposia have been accepted for presentation within the program.

Abstracts are invited for presentation within these symposia: please upload your abstract by 19 July 2024

Submit abstracts for an organized symposia here

There is still time to organise a Symposium!

Symposia proposals will be considered until 14 June 2024.

SYMPOSIA

Policy and Governance

Advancing eco-resilience: geospatial techniques in hazard modeling for flood, drought, and landslide prediction and management.

Symposium on eco-health and public health for disease prevention and sustainable development

Climate variability and its impact on hydrology: observational and model-based studies

On green innovation strategy: Responses to the ESG Rating by Chinese listed firms

Towards sustainable tourism: Addressing environmental degradation and encouraging eco-tourism

Circular economy as an element of sustainable development

International standards for carbon-neutral cities? - Conversations between Europe and Asia

Eco-civilization and sustainability transitions in coal mining cities and regions

Agricultural land-use system management for climate change mitigation and carbon neutrality in pursuit of a sustainable and desirable future

Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment in a changing climate: Strategies for comprehensive risk evaluation and management

Towards a sustainable environment: dynamic linkages between corruption, economic liberty, shadow economy and carbon emissions in BRICS countries

Ecology and Biodiversity

Ecological drought and environmental flow

Linking ecological non-monotonicity to ecological complexity and stability

Land degradation and biodiversity loss

Social-ecological systems modelling

River and lake ecosystem health.

Stepwise ecological restoration: a nature-based solution for watershed resilience

AI for various ecological and environmental problems, management, and their modelling

Terrestrial Ecological Systems

Grassland conservation and sustainable use under changing environment

Structure, function, and sustainability of urban forests

Greening drylands: Water-smart strategies for forest and vegetation restoration

Alpine-treeline dynamics – patterns, causes, and mechanisms

Towards a predictive understanding of agroecosystem-earth’s critical zone feedback loops under changing climate

Wetland ecohydrology, biogeochemistry and water resources management

Resistance and resilience of natural and managed terrestrial ecosystems to drought: from cellular to global scales

Anthropogenic pressure to grassland ecosystems and fostering resilience – barriers to sustainable human-grassland interactions and points of systemic intervention

Forest ecosystem resilience assessment and early warning



Symposia Descriptions

Policy and Governance

Advancing eco-resilience: geospatial techniques in hazard modeling for flood, drought, and landslide prediction and management

Chair: Brototi Biswas, Mizoram University, Aizawl, India
Co-chair: Jayanta Das, Rampurhat College, India

Summary

Symposium Overview

This symposium aims to showcase the latest advancements in geospatial techniques for hazard modeling, with a particular focus on floods, droughts, and landslides. As climate change intensifies, the frequency and severity of these natural hazards are expected to rise, posing significant risks to ecosystems and human communities. This session will explore how geospatial technologies can be harnessed to predict, manage, and mitigate the impacts of these hazards, contributing towards resilient ecological systems.

Relevance to EcoSummit 2024 Themes

The proposed symposium is directly aligned with the EcoSummit 2024's theme of "Eco-Civilization for a Sustainable and Desirable Future" under the conference topic of “Policy and Governance”. It emphasizes the crucial role of technological innovation in understanding and managing terrestrial ecological systems, thereby enhancing policy and governance frameworks for disaster risk reduction and ecological conservation.

Objectives

  • To present cutting-edge research and case studies on the application of geospatial techniques in modeling and managing flood, drought, and landslide hazards.
  • To facilitate discussions on integrating hazard modeling into ecological and urban planning for improved resilience.
  • To explore interdisciplinary approaches that combine geospatial technologies with ecological science, engineering, and social sciences.
  • To develop recommendations for policymakers on incorporating advanced hazard prediction and management strategies into sustainable development goals.

Expected Outcomes

  • Enhanced understanding of the potential of geospatial technologies in hazard modeling and management
  • Strengthened collaboration between researchers, practitioners, and policymakers in the field of disaster risk reduction
  • A set of actionable policy recommendations for integrating hazard modeling into ecological conservation and urban planning strategies


Symposium on Eco-Health and Public Health for Disease Prevention and Sustainable Development

Chair: Jayanand, Shobhit University, Meerut, India
Co-chair: Lomas Tomar, Shobhit University, Meerut, India

Summary

Description :

The "Symposium on Eco-Health and Public Health for Disease Prevention and Sustainable Development" brings together experts, researchers, policymakers, and practitioners from around the globe to delve into the critical intersections of environmental sustainability, public health, and disease prevention. In an era where human activities increasingly impact ecological systems, leading to profound consequences for health, this symposium serves as a vital platform for multidisciplinary dialogue and collaboration.

With a focus on proactive strategies, the symposium seeks to elucidate the intricate relationships between ecosystem health, human well-being, and the emergence, transmission, and management of diseases. Through a series of keynote presentations, panel discussions, and interactive workshops, participants will explore innovative approaches and evidence-based interventions aimed at safeguarding both human health and the environment.

Central to the symposium's objectives is the recognition that sustainable development cannot be achieved without prioritizing public health and environmental conservation. By fostering synergies between eco-health and public health initiatives, attendees will gain insights into holistic solutions that promote resilience, equity, and sustainability.

Themes to be addressed include the impact of environmental degradation on disease emergence and transmission, the role of biodiversity conservation in disease prevention, the importance of sustainable urban planning for public health, and the integration of traditional ecological knowledge into modern healthcare practices.

Moreover, the symposium will examine the disproportionate burden of environmental risks and diseases on vulnerable populations, including marginalized communities and indigenous peoples, and explore strategies for promoting environmental justice and health equity.

Through knowledge sharing, capacity building, and networking opportunities, participants will emerge equipped with practical tools and strategies to address the complex challenges at the nexus of eco-health, public health, and sustainable development. By fostering collaboration across sectors and disciplines, the symposium aims to catalyze collective action towards a healthier, more resilient future for all.



Climate Variability And Its Impact On Hydrology: Observational And Model-Based Studies

Chair: Brototi Biswas, Mizoram University (Central), India
Co-chair: Bhagwan B Ghute, Toshniwal ACS College, India

Summary

About the Session theme 

The conference, titled "Climate variability and its impact on hydrology: observational and model-based studies," will explore the relationship between climate variability and hydrology. It will involve leading researchers, practitioners, and stakeholders discussing research findings, insights, and potential solutions to climate change challenges. The event will also discuss the social, economic, and environmental implications of climate change on water management.

Objectives of the Session

The conference session on climate variability and its impact on hydrology aims to bring together experts in hydrology and climate change to discuss and exchange ideas. It will explore observational and model-based studies to identify factors contributing to climate variability and develop practical solutions to mitigate its adverse effects on water resources.

Sub-Themes

  • Analysis of long-term hydrological data to identify trends and patterns in streamflow, precipitation, and other relevant variables.
  • Use of statistical and machine learning models to forecast future changes in hydrological variables under different climate scenarios.
  • Development and evaluation of hydrological models that incorporate climate variables and their uncertainties.
  • Assessment of the impacts of climate variability on water availability, water quality, and ecosystem health.
  • Investigation of adaptation strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate variability on hydrology, such as water storage, conservation, and management practices.
  • Case studies of successful or unsuccessful responses to extreme hydrological events, such as floods and droughts, in the context of changing climate conditions.


On Green Innovation Strategy: Responses to the ESG Rating by Chinese Listed Firms

Chair: Sarath Delpachitra, Hainan Tropical Ocean University, China
Co-chair: Anwar Tursun, Jilin University, China

Summary

Over the past decade the UN introduced environmental, social and governance (ESG) framework has been receiving attention in the global industry horizon with the more industries adopting emerging ESG rating agencies. This paper examines effectiveness of these rating agencies when they are applied in the Chinese context using a panel data set of Chinese A-share listed firms between 2010 and 2018 and the 2015 ESG rating announced by the SynTao Green Finance as a quasi-natural experiment.  More specifically focus was the effect of ESG rating event on the corporate green innovation strategy. The research finds that the ESG rating event promotes the overall level of green innovation and facilitates the implementation of substantive green innovation. Meanwhile, firm ownership and media attention have significant moderating effects. The findings highlight the importance of the construction of the ESG rating system in context of China.



Towards Sustainable Tourism: Addressing Environmental Degradation and Encouraging Eco-Tourism

Chair: Brototi Biswas, Mizoram University, India
Co-chair: Jonmenjoy Barman, Mizoram University, India

Summary

The tourism industry has been rapidly increasing in the last few decades owing to its lucrative multidimensional economic interest. With the encroachment of the tourism industry into new tourism horizons, often at the cost of natural environment, the degradation of the natural environment as well as the cultural environment is becoming quite rampant. The rippling effect of tourism is being seen in the recent surge in heat waves event owing to increase in forest-based tourism, which is also taking its toll on the jeopardized forest eco-system. Anthropogenic interventions along river bed are influencing the stream flow and flood pattern. Unplanned tourism inroads in the hilly environment for tourism development are triggering landslide susceptibility in these areas. These are just a few of the multitude of cases of environmental degradation owing to unplanned tourism industry. 

In light of the growing concerns about environmental degradation, this symposium explores the difficult balance between the economic benefits of tourism and its environmental cost. It will also explore sustainable tourism among growing concern of environmental degradation. The anthology will draw on authors/researchers/scientists/academicians and expertise from a range of disciplines including (but not limited to) 

  • Tourism planning,
  • Ecotourism,
  • Environmental degradation in relation to tourism
  • Climate change in relation to tourism
  • Land use land cover change and deforestation in relation to tourism
  • Natural hazard in relation to tourism
  • Man-wildlife conflict


Circular economy as an element of sustainable development

Chair: Zbigniew Grzymała, SGH- Warsaw School of Economics, Warsaw, Poland
Co-chair: Agnieszka Wójcik-Czerniawska, SGH- Warsaw School of Economics, Warsaw, Poland

Summary

The aim of this session is to discuss, on the one hand, the idea of a closed-loop economy and the implementation of this idea both in the economy and the enterprise, and on the other hand, to estimate the costs and benefits of introducing such solutions on many levels. The idea of a circular economy reduces the consumption of resources. However, in the opinion of some experts, the costs associated with the collection of certain waste fractions and their management are most often not covered by revenues from returning waste to the economy in the form of recycling or reuse. In turn, waste incineration involves CO2 emissions. The topic is very broad and controversial, regarding both municipal and industrial waste and climate change.

When justifying the proposal of such a session, it should be added that the dynamically and massively developing communication in the economic and social sphere has changed the conditions of operation of most modern markets, creating a global economy covering the economies of the vast majority of countries. Therefore, there is no doubt that globalization and cross-border economic development are of strategic importance in the development of economies and societies at the beginning of the 21st century. However, it is undeniable that they have also contributed to the over-exploitation of the natural environment and its resources and the degradation of many areas, as evidenced by huge tracts of contaminated land and large concentrations of waste in marine areas, numbering millions of tons. Recovering raw materials, designing products in such a way that they can be reused in the next phase of their life, responsible consumption, selective waste collection at the source of their generation, climate regulation and regulation of water and air quality are the basic goals set by the circular economy model. closed (Circular Economy Model).



International standards for carbon-neutral cities? - Conversations between Europe and Asia

Chair: Bernhard Mueller, TU Dresden, Germany
Co-chair: Jiyoon Song, Korea Environment Institute, South Korea

Summary

Carbon neutrality is a goal of many cities worldwide. According to the World Resources Institute (WRI) and its Citysphere database, most cities have set carbon neutrality targets for the decade between 2040 to 2050. For example, the European Green Deal strives to make Europe the first carbon-neutral continent. Through one of its missions, the European Union currently supports 112 cities to become climate-neutral by 2030 and act as experiementation and innovation hubs to put all cities into a position to become climate-neutral by 2050. In Asian countries, many similar activities are being implemented. For example, China is setting up respective pilot programmes in 100 cities and industrial estates nationwide. 

On this background, the proposed session will discuss urban transitions towards carbon-neutrality in Europe and Asia. Special attention will be given to the question to what extent it is feasible to develop internationally standardized indicators for carbon-neutral cities. Such indicators could support benchmarking and the exchange of information about good practices. However, their role depends to a high extent on the specific societal conditions and cultural contexts of the different countries.  

The topics of the session include:

  • Analysis of the current status of the utilization of carbon-neutral city indicators in Europe and Asia.
  • Identification of barriers and opportunities for standardizing indicators for carbon-neutral cities in both continents.
  • Discussion on perspectives and strategies for accelerating urban carbon-neutrality transitions through the utilization of internationally agreed indicators.

The discussion may play a significant role in providing scientific knowledge from Europe and Asia, but also from other continents, for a new technical report on ISO/TC268 standards, "Indicators for Carbon-Neutral Cities".

Bernhard Mueller is a senior professor, specializing in urban and regional development. Jiyoon Song is an early career scientist responsible for elaborating the above mentioned proposal for international standards.  



Eco-civilization and sustainability transitions in coal mining cities and regions

Chair: Ziyi Wang, China University of Mining and Technology (CUMT), China
Co-chair: Bernhard Mueller, TU Dresden, Germany

Summary

Over the coming decades, climate change and de-carbonization policies will lead to a noticeable decrease and phasing-out of coal mining worldwide, especially in China. However, many coal-based cities and regions are not yet well prepared for the dramatic transition processes ahead. Nevertheless, there is also much experience worldwide in managing the phasing-out of mining in a successful way, which can help to derive sustainable development options with a cultural fit in different societies. 

On this background, the session deals with the approach of eco-civilization in an international context, and it discusses sustainability transitions in coal cities and regions within the framework of climate change, energy transition and de-carbo­nization. It aims to gather worldwide experiences. 

The session addresses the following topics: 

  • Identification of challenges and opportunities of eco-civilization-based transitions of coal mining cities and regions,
  • Discussion of good practice examples and factors contributing to successful sustainability transitions,
  • Development of recommendations for sustainability transitions in coal-based cities before and during their phasing-out of coal mining.
  • The results of the session may inform decision-makers on strategic options regarding sustainability transitions in coal-based cities and regions.

Ziyi Wang is an early career scientist with experience in eco-civilization and the transition of coal-based cities, especially in China. Bernhard Mueller is a senior professor, specializing in sustainability transitions in urban and regional development. 



Agricultural Land-Use System Management for Climate Change Mitigation and Carbon Neutrality in Pursuit of a Sustainable and Desirable Future

Chair: Zhihui Li, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Co-chair: Xiangzheng Deng, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Summary

In the context of the EcoSummit 2024, with the theme of "Eco-Civilization for a Sustainable and Desirable Future," we propose a symposia focused on the Agricultural Land-Use System (ALUS) management for climate change mitigation and carbon neutrality. The ALUS, as a complex and coupled system centered on land use, plays a pivotal role in sustainable resource utilization, carbon sequestration, emission reduction, and food production. Given the urgency of climate change and food security issues, it is imperative to delve deeper into ALUS management mechanisms.

This symposia aims to bring together scholars and practitioners to discuss the theoretical framework and methods of ALUS management. We will explore the progress made in agricultural land-use carbon emissions and management strategies in the context of climate change. Additionally, we will evaluate the resource carrying capacity of ALUS for food security and discuss the optimization of agricultural land layout to enhance land use capacity.

Furthermore, we will delve into the role of ALUS in addressing climate change, ensuring nutrition and food security, providing ecosystem services, and promoting sustainable environmental development. Given the relatively late start of theoretical and empirical research on ALUS in China, we believe there is an urgent need to establish a robust management system that can accelerate the transition to sustainable agricultural land use in China.

Through this symposia, we hope to facilitate knowledge sharing, identify best practices, and establish collaborative frameworks that can support high-quality development and ecological civilization in China. We believe that by working together, we can contribute to building a sustainable and desirable future for all.



Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment in a changing climate: Strategies for Comprehensive Risk Evaluation and Management

Chair: Brototi Biswas, Mizoram University, India
Co-chair: Iftikhar Hussain Beigh, National Institute of Technology Srinagar, India

Summary

Natural hazards pose serious threats worldwide, resulting in financial losses, service disruptions, and loss of life. Every year, disasters incur a staggering cost of US$ 520 billion to the global economy (UNISDR 2018). Economic losses stemming from natural hazards are on the
rise, with projections indicating exacerbation due to climate change and urbanization trends in the recent decades. The Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction (DRR) emphasizes the urgent need to substantially decrease disaster risk, with a primary focus in comprehending risk to enhance prevention, mitigation, and preparedness efforts. The concept of multi-hazard garnered initial attention at the Agenda 21 Conference in Rio de Janeiro (UNEP 1994), which advocated for a comprehensive multi-hazard approach to disaster management and risk reduction. Over the past decades, there has been growing interest in analyzing the multiple risks posed by various hazards simultaneously. Natural hazards pose significant risks to people and assets globally, necessitating comprehensive multi-hazard risk assessment (MHRA). Traditional approaches often overlook multi-hazard risks, potentially leading to underestimation or overestimation of risks.

Multi-hazard Risk Assessment (MHRA) is a systematic process that evaluates risks from multiple hazards across different regions. It considers natural and human-induced hazards like earthquakes, floods, landslides, tsunamis, hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, industrial accidents, and pandemics. MHRAA involves scientific analysis, modeling techniques, data integration, stakeholder engagement, and scenario planning. It requires collaboration between governments, scientific institutions, and stakeholders at local, national, regional, and international levels. The findings of the symposia through academic deliberations among researchers, scientists etc will be useful for informed decision-making, policy development, land-use planning, infrastructure investment, disaster preparedness, and emergency response efforts.

Sub themes: Climate Change Adaptation Strategies, AI and ML, RS/GIS, Mult hazard Early warning System, Community-Based Approaches, Socio-Economic Factors, System Dynamics Modeling, Ecosystem-Based Approaches, Cross-Sectoral Collaboration, Innovative Financing Mechanisms, Disaster Risk Reduction case studies



Towards a sustainable environment: dynamic linkages between corruption, economic liberty, shadow economy and carbon emissions in BRICS countries

Chair: Shrabanti Maity, Vidyasagar University, India
Co-chair: Mithun Kumar Rath, Vidyasagar University, India

Summary

Environmental degradation is widespread and profound, affecting many facets of society, including human health, biodiversity, climate stability, catastrophe resilience, and the capacity to meet sustainable development objectives. Acknowledging the urgent need to address these issues, the United Nations has included numerous environmental goals among its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Environmental justice is one of the justice concepts covered by SDG 16. A comprehensive number of studies are related to the mentioned issue. Interestingly, no research has looked at how these factors affect CO2 emissions by combining all of these determinants into a single jargon. The influence of these factors must be clubbed with economic growth, and their combined influence on CO2 emissions will be more intriguing and suitable for policy formulation. Henceforth, there is a research gap that must be addressed to have a more effective policy to achieve SDG goals 17 along with 8, 13, and 16. This background motivates the study to explore the dynamic linkages between corruption, economic liberty, shadow economies, and CO2 emissions between 1995 and 2019 in the context of the BRICS countries’ economic growth and energy intensity. To support the panel data, the second-generation panel techniques—cointegration, long-run elasticity estimates, and causality—are used. Empirical results indicate a long-run association among variables. Corruption significantly enhances environmental degradation. Conversely, shadow economic activity has positive environmental outcomes in the long run. The paper concludes with significant policy implications for the BRICS nations, highlighting its shortcomings and suggesting areas for further research.


Ecology and Biodiversity

Ecological drought and Environmental flow

Chair: Huaiwei Sun, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
Co-chair: Wenxin Zhang, Lund University, Sweden

Summary

Ecosystems play a crucial role in regulating natural processes and supporting a range of activities. However, drought can disrupt these vital functions and services at various scales. Ecological drought is a water deficit that drives ecosystems beyond thresholds of vulnerability, impacts services, and triggers feedback in natural and/or human systems. Freshwater ecosystems may undergo changes in flow regimes, water temperature, and water quality, resulting in fish kills, reduced recreation opportunities, and decreased hydropower production. This drought can be caused by natural phenomena or exacerbated by competing demands on limited water supplies. Land use and water allocation decisions can drive or exacerbate ecological drought. There is growing interest in flow management strategies to mitigate the negative effects of reservoirs on downstream environments and aquatic ecosystems. The most common strategy is the environmental flow (e-flow) approach, which aims to protect aquatic environments in dammed rivers while providing ecological services. Over the past three decades, studies have contributed to the development of e-flow management strategies. It is very important to discussion the recent development of methods for ecological drought and environmental flow.



Linking ecological non-monotonicity to ecological complexity and stability

Chair: Zhibin Zhang, Hainan University, China and International Society of Zoological Sciences
Co-chair: Chuan Yan, College of Ecology, Lanzhou University (CELZU), China

Summary

In natural ecosystems, various organisms interact with each other and the surrounding environments. Traditionally, we often described these interactions as monotonic effects (positive, negative and neutral effects), e.g., species interactions including competition, predation, mutualism, etc. However, many ecological associations, such as species interactions, organism-environment relationships, and diversity-stability-function relationships, may be nonlinear and change signs under different conditions, resulting in ecological non-monotonic effects (NM effect). There has been growing evidence that non-monotonic effects of environmental factors and both intra- and inter-specific interactions can significantly influence the dynamics of populations, communities and ecosystems. Therefore, this symposium aims to discuss various forms of ecological non-monotonicity, and their effects on complexity and stability at different spatial, temporal and organizational scales, which may change our conventional monotonic views on the effects of environmental factors and species interactions in ecosystems. We also hope, through this symposium, to stimulate more effort to study ecological non-monotonicity and re-think our strategies to manage ecosystems under accelerated global change. One day session including 12 speakers will be organized in Zhengzhou, the main conference venue. Because the ecological NM effect corresponds well with an ancient Chinese Laozi Philosophy (Taoism), we plan to pay a visit to the Luyi County of Henan Province, the hometown of Laozi, the great philosopher of Taoism, and to have a seminar there entitled “Laozi Philosophy and Ecology” which will include 4 speakers. 



Land degradation and biodiversity loss

Chair: Irene Petrosillo, Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, Italy
Co-chair: Yanji Wang, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology (NEIGAE), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), P.R.China

Summary

The different drivers of land degradation (urban sprawl, agriculture intensification, desertification,…) can affect biodiversity in terms of habitat fragmentation or loss, change in plant and animal diversity and abundance, soil quality erosion, and depletion of water resources.

They can strongly threat the life-supporting system in a way that can hardly be reversed, and we can assume that more species can become more susceptible to extinction because of the degradation of their habitats in natural and human-dominated landscapes. Since landscape diversity is greater in more heterogenous landscapes, biodiversity and landscape heterogeneity are positively interrelated. In this perspective, this session aims at figure out possible answers to the following research questions:

  • Which are the effects of land-use/land-cover change on biodiversity?
  • Is it possible to identify some types of diversity more sensitive to land-use/land-cover change than others?
  • Which indicators are more suitable to monitor the effects of land degradation on biodiversity?
  • Do the spatial and temporal scales of land degradation matter in affecting biodiversity?
  • How can we rewilding the landscape?
  • How climate change affects the regional vegetation distribution patterns and landscape structure of terrestrial ecosystems?
  • How can we respond to the environmental stress of land degradation on vegetation in terrestrial ecosystems?

These are just few of the several questions that need urgent solutions in terms of policies and management actions. Therefore, research and review contributions, demonstrative case studies, management solutions, and policy perspectives are welcome. 



Social-ecological systems modelling

Chair: Brian D. Fath, Towson University, USA; IIASA, Austria
Co-chair: Rose Wang, Texas A&M University, USA

Summary

Social-ecological systems (SES) consider the interactions, influences, linkages, and dependencies between humans and nature.  Investigations of SES often use a complex adaptive systems framework to explore the bio-geo-physical resources and the social and institutional actors.  This session invites presentations that study SES models in the context of Sustainable Development using resilience, robustness, metabolic, or other process-based, dynamical techniques.  Models that include the role of local or traditional knowledge is encouraged.



River and lake ecosystem health

Chair: Jihong Xia, Hohai University, China
Co-chair: Wangwei Cai, Hohai University, China

Summary

River and lake ecosystem health are vital to the Earth, influencing human habitats, water resource use, rare species, biodiversity, and ecological value. Our symposium seeks to explore the theories, measurements, and control strategies of river and lake ecosystem health, promoting academic exchanges. We invite scholars and experts to submit abstracts and oral presentations, providing new insights or experience for this field. The event will be held at the International Convention and Exhibition Center in Zhengzhou, China, from December 14-19, 2024, with details to follow via email. This symposium will be chaired by Professor Jihong Xia from Hohai University of China, and supported by the Science & Technology Fundamental Resources Investigation Program of China [Grant No. 2022FY100404].



Stepwise ecological restoration: a nature-based solution for watershed resilience

Chair: Junguo Liu, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, China
Co-chair: Yuehan Dou, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China

Summary

Approximately 48% of global rivers suffer degradation, mainly due to decreased connectivity. A key challenge in fixing these affected rive ecosystems lies in the comprehensive understanding of the hydrological and ecological dynamics within the broader watershed framework. Stepwise ecological restoration emerges as a promising nature-based solution, harmonizing diverse restoration modalities tailored to distinct levels of ecosystem degradation. This encompasses environmental remediation for severely damaged ecosystems, ecological rehabilitation for moderately impacted ecosystems, and ecological (or natural) restoration for slightly degraded ecosystems.

Our symposium aims to share case studies from different regions to show how stepwise ecological restoration can help improve watershed resilience. We will extend to the development of water and ecosystem simulators for degraded or rehabilitated watersheds. Moreover, we shall explore the conceptualization of advanced decision support frameworks, facilitating informed interventions in watershed restoration endeavors.



AI for various ecological and environmental problems, management, and their modelling

Chairs: Dong Wang; Yuankun Wang, Nanjing University, China; North China Electric Power University, China
Co-chairs: Senlin Zhu; Feng Huang, Yangzhou Universiy, China; Hohai University, China

Summary

In an era of big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI), based on vast amounts of data, one can uncover hidden patterns and make accurate prediction model(s) that are vital for informed decision-making, resource allocation, and ecological and environmental management with the aid of Machine Learning (ML) and AI algorithms. Environmental systems are complex, requiring ML/AI techniques to capture relationships and patterns. Leveraging large-scale data and advanced algorithms, ML/AI models can generate reliable and accurate predictions. Analyzing historical data, identifying trends, and learning patterns enable accurate predictions for ecological and environmental variables. These models contribute to effective policy formulation and sustainable practices. From climate change modelling and ecological forecasting to water quality assessment and pollution monitoring, ML and AI provide powerful tools for decision-making and sustainable resource management. This session encompasses a wide range of topics related to ML/AI in ecological and environmental applications. It includes research articles, and methodologies that explore the latest advancements and best practices. The covered topics extend beyond data integration, feature selection, model validation, and optimization techniques. Ensemble learning, deep learning approaches for remote sensing data analysis, spatial-temporal modelling, uncertainty quantification, transfer learning, reinforcement learning for optimization, explainable AI, integrating ML/AI with sensor networks for real-time environmental monitoring, and hybrid physics-based and data-driven models for ecological modelling are all welcomed. These topics collectively contribute to advancing the field of ML/AI in ecological modelling and management, addressing key challenges, and fostering sustainable practices.

Terrestrial Ecological Systems

Grassland conservation and sustainable use under changing environment

Chair: Wenwu Zhao, Beijing Normal University, China
Co-chair: Jingyi Ding, Beijing Normal University, China

Summary

Grassland is the major terrestrial ecosystem, accounting for about 40.5% of the land surface and 69% of the global agricultural area, and plays crucial role in supporting both ecological functions and social developments. Grassland provides human beings with not only important ecosystem services such as water conservation, carbon sequestration and climate regulation, but also meat, milk, and other animal products. However, grassland is exposed to rapid declines, with 49% of grasslands globally exposed to varying degrees of degradation. Furthermore, grassland conditions have been exacerbated by shrinking areas available for grazing due to rapid human population growth and surge demand for livestock products. Under the changing environment, climate change, land use alternation and intensified human activities can alter a variety of ecological processes (e.g., energy transfer, water fluxes), largely suppressing multiple ecosystem functions, and put threat to the maintenance of ecosystem services and food security in grassland, which inhibit the global efforts to meet sustainable development goals (SDGs). To achieve the sustainable development of grassland ecosystems, consensus efforts are needed to address the challenges from both grassland degradation and demanding need of human welfare. Prioritizing the preservation of biodiversity, maintaining ecosystem services, and enhancing local livelihoods are key factors to be considered in grassland conservation practices. Collaboration among stakeholders, policymakers, researchers, and local communities is crucial for effectively implementing sustainable grassland management strategies at both regional and global scale. In the future, the intensification of drought and more intensive human activities will further threaten forage productivity, and intensify the conflict between ecological conservation and social development in grassland. Therefore, there is an urgent need to assess the degradation of grassland and its underpinned mechanisms, develop conservation techniques to protect and rehabilitate grasslands, and explore sustainable management strategies in order to achieve dynamic balance between ecological security and human welfare in grasslands.



Structure, function, and sustainability of urban forests

Chair: Enzai Du, Beijing Normal University, China
Co-chair: Nan Xia, Beijing Normal University, China

Summary

Urban forests mainly comprise of forest patches and street trees within urban areas. They provide key ecosystem services for city dwellers such as microclimate regulation, air pollutant removal and biodiversity maintenance. Unlike natural forests, urban forests generally have less diverse plant species and are subject to distinctive urban environments and considerable horticultural interventions (e.g., irrigation, pruning, cultivation and fertilization). Specifically, the urban heat island effect, high-level atmospheric CO2 and air pollutant concentrations (e.g., NOx, ozone) all have a potential to alter tree growth and biogeochemical cycling in urban forests. However, knowledge gaps remain in the structure, function and sustainability of urban forests, which have important implications for optimal management. This session thus focuses on biodiversity, carbon and nutrient cycling, and multiple function of urban forests and their interactions with urban environments. It provides a platform for knowledge exchange and discussion on the future research directions related to the function, health and management of urban forests for a better urban planet.



Greening Drylands: Water-Smart Strategies for Forest and Vegetation Restoration

Chair: Pengtao Yu, Chinese Academy of Forestry, China
Co-chair: Jose osé M. Grünzweig, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Summary

Dryland regions account for about 41% of the land area, 1/3 of the population, 18% of the forests, 1/2 of the livestock, and 1/3 of the biodiversity hotspots in the world. They are extremely vulnerable to climate change, drought stress, desertification, and land degradation. Dryland areas are expected to increase by 10-23% by the end of the 21st century, endangering food security, human well-being, and sustainable development.

Increasing and restoring the cover of vegetation, including forest, shrub and grassland, is a feasible and effective approach to controlling soil erosion and addressing desertification. Large-scale forest/vegetation restoration projects have been successfully implemented worldwide, especially in China. However, these projects, particularly the forest restoration projects, are increasingly and severely constrained by insufficient water resources and the changing climate. Obvious side effects of these constraints, such as poor growth of forest/vegetation, soil drying, and watershed runoff reduction, are further restricting the sustainable development of dryland regions and the supply of multiple services from forest/vegetation ecosystems. How to restore and manage forest/vegetation within the framework of water security is becoming a key issue to ensure and promote the sustainable development of dryland regions.

Given the global importance of this issue, we propose a conference theme on “Water-based Forest/vegetation Restoration and Management in Dryland Regions”. This will provide a platform for the related researchers to exchange their latest achievements and promote a shared understanding of forest/vegetation eco-hydrological processes, the development and application of eco-hydrological models and decision support tools as well as advanced techniques for rational restoration and optimal management of forest/vegetation in dryland regions. This will also promote the formation of a theory-technique-policy system for the precise restoration and management of forest/vegetation in dryland regions based on water resource carrying capacity as soon as possible.



Alpine-treeline dynamics – patterns, causes, and mechanisms

Chair: Mai-He Li, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Switzerland
Co-chair: Johanna Toivonen, University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Summary

Alpine-treeline ecotones, the boundary between forests and treeless regions at high elevations, are sensitive indicators of environmental change. Understanding their dynamics is crucial for predicting future climate- and land-use-change impacts on high-elevation ecosystem services. We invite submissions for a session titled "Alpine-treeline dynamics – patterns, causes, and mechanisms." This session will explore observed patterns of treeline-ecotone movement and other forms of change, delve into the underlying drivers of these dynamics, and dissect the specific mechanisms by which these changes occur. We welcome submissions that use diverse methodologies, including field studies, dendrochronology, controlled experiments, remote sensing, and modeling, to address treeline responses to climate change, land-use practices, and ecological interactions. 

Towards a predictive understanding of agroecosystem-earth’s critical zone feedback loops under changing climate

Chair: Xi Zhang, Louisiana State University, United States
Co-chair: Yawen Huang, Nanjing Agricultural University, China

Summary

The Earth’s Critical Zone, where rock meets life, extends from the tops of the trees to the bottom of the groundwater and integrates the pedosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere. Classic conceptual diagrams of Critical Zone processes predominantly depict natural landscapes, often overlooking the significant anthropogenic influences in agricultural settings that dramatically alter the Critical Zone. Agriculture dominates human land use, accounting for 38% of the global land surface. Through management practices, agroecosystems affect the fluxes and storage of mass and energy in the Critical Zone, thereby impacting hydrologic and biogeochemical processes that are crucial to the functioning of the Critical Zone. The impacts of agriculture on the Critical Zone are diverse and complicated. A comprehensive understanding of the dynamic interactions between agroecosystems and the Critical Zone contributes to the development of strategies that deliver United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and ensure the long-term health and well-being of our planet. This symposium brings together scientists from diverse fields including soil science, hydrology, ecology, agronomy, and environmental science to facilitate a multidisciplinary dialogue that aims at unraveling how agroecosystems influence and are influenced by the Critical Zone, particularly in the context of a changing climate. We solicit contributions that focus on but are not limited to: (1) linking multi-scale soil bio-geo-physio-chemical processes to agroecosystems services and Critical Zone functions; (2) exploring how agroecosystems function and evolve in regulating the carbon, water, and energy cycles and thus greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration; (3) developing sustainable agricultural practices that enable agroecosystems to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Wetland ecohydrology, biogeochemistry and water resources management

Chair: Guangxin Zhang, Northeast Institute of Geology Agricultural Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Co-chair: Yanfeng Wu, Northeast Institute of Geology Agricultural Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Summary

The wetland hydrologic cycle plays a crucial role in local and regional flow systems, including attenuation, storage, re-distribution, surface-groundwater interaction, and river/lake riparian connectivity. The biogeochemical processes associated with the hydrologic cycle affect water quality and ecosystem functioning across land and waterscapes. These processes in many parts of the world have been changed significantly due to a combined effect of climate change and human activities, leading to severe environmental issues such as wetland loss, water regime shifts, water resource shortages, water quality deterioration, and declining ecosystem health. The shrinking wetland acreage and functional degradation is a threat to regional and global water security and ecological integrity. This Session will bring together experts and practitioners from different countries and disciplines, to discuss wetland ecohydrological processes and solutions to the problems. We welcome original contributions that use field observations, experimental data, and numerical modeling to analyze ecohydrological processes in wetlands and to improve integrated water resources and ecosystem management at the wetland, watershed and river basin scales.

The discussion topics aim to cover a broad scope of wetland-related ecohydrology and water resources management problems and are expected to cover the following keywords (but not limited to):

  • Wetlands
  • Lakes, riparian areas, floodplains
  • Ecohydrological processes and modeling
  • Surface water-groundwater interactions
  • River, lake, riparian connectivity
  • Wetland biogeochemical processes
  • Wetland hydrological function
  • Wetland water quality
  • Role of wetlands in floods and droughts
    • Hydrological effects of wetland loss and restoration
    • Ecological water demands of wetlands
    • Impacts of climate change and hydrological extremes on wetland ecohydrology
  • Hydrologic control on wetland greenhouse gas fluxes
  • Sustainable water management in wetlands
  • Integrated management of water resources


Resistance and resilience of natural and managed terrestrial ecosystems to drought: from cellular to global scales

Chair: Yongjiang Zhang, University of Maine, USA
Co-chair: Yajun Chen, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Summary

Anthropogenic climate change, including both shifts in average conditions and increasing climate extremes, brings challenges to both natural and managed ecosystems. Extreme drought events associated with climate change are becoming increasingly frequent globally, resulting in widespread forest dieback and crop yield loss. Revealing the resistance and resilience of plants and ecosystems to drought is fundamental for predicting the future of natural and agricultural systems, and for developing sustainable land use and management policies. This symposium focuses on plant and ecosystem responses to drought, and covers studies from diverse ecosystems from tropical savannas and rainforests to subtropical and temperate forests, as well as managed plantations and agricultural systems.  Different scale processes from the cellular, leaf, individual, and ecosystem levels to the landscape, regional, and global levels under increasing drought will be discussed in the symposium. Topics to be covered include drought-induced xylem embolism and hydraulic failure, mechanisms underlying tree dieback under drought,  vulnerability of arid and semi-arid ecosystems to drought, drought impacts on crop growth and yield, and modeling ecosystem response to increasing drought under climate change. Overall, this symposium aims to stimulate the integration of multiple-scale approaches to understand the resistance and resilience of ecosystems to drought, and to reveal general principles regulating plant and ecosystem dynamics under increasing drought. By using an integrative approach, the discussion stimulated by the symposium will provide insights into the ecology and sustainable management of both natural and managed terrestrial ecosystems under climate change. 



Anthropogenic pressure to grassland ecosystems and fostering resilience – barriers to sustainable human-grassland interactions and points of systemic intervention

Chair: Tianchu Lu, Institute for Global Prosperity, University College London, UK
Co-chair: Altangarag, Inner Mongolia University for Nationalities, China

Summary

Grasslands, as one of the major ecosystems on planet Earth, cover around 20 to 40 percent of global terrestrial area, depending on they are defined. Livestock grazing on natural and managed grasslands allow humans to use the vegetations that are not directly digestible to us. Apart from their high agricultural value and high biodiversity, grasslands also provide a rich variety of other ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration, climate mitigation, social and cultural ecosystem services, and so on.

However, grasslands are vulnerable to anthropogenic pressure including land encroachment (gradual conversion of grassland habitats into farmland), overgrazing, climate change, poaching, and history of mismanagement especially in societies where cropping has been the dominant culture. At the same time, there are significant regions of grasslands that are arid and semi-arid land, such as eastern Africa, western Asia and Mongolian plateau. The nonequilibrium nature of those regions exacerbate the vulnerability of grassland ecology and human livelihoods.

This proposed symposium attempts to bring together inter-disciplinary efforts to help 1) address the existing barriers to sustainable human-grassland interactions and 2) identify points of systemic intervention, based on solid understanding of grassland ecology, and draw knowledge from examples from around the world. This proposed symposium welcomes inter-disciplinary studies that have component(s) of systems thinking, social and behavioural study, environmental history, but not exclusive to.



Forest ecosystem resilience assessment and early warning

Chair: Yong Pang, Institute of Forest Resource Information Techniques, Chinese Academy of Forestry, China
Co-chair: Tao Yu, Institute of Forest Resource Information Techniques, Chinese Academy of Forestry, China

Summary

Forest ecosystems are under increasing pressure from changing environmental drivers and intensifying disturbances related primarily to changes in climate change, fire and other stress factor, which seriously affects the ability of forest carbon sequestration and sink. The persistence and functionality of forest ecosystem are highly dependent on their resilience, which could be defined as the capacity of forest ecosystem to return to a state not qualitatively different from its pre-disturbance state by resisting and/or recovering. Fostering resilience has been proposed as a solution to deal with the uncertainty caused by global climate change and increase the forest carbon. In this condition, how to assess the resilience and give early warning of forest ecosystem becomes urgent scientific problems need to be solved. 

This symposia will focus on forest ecosystem resilience assessment and early warning. Topics include the impact of climate change on forests, forest ecosystem resilience evaluation indicators system, methods to obtain the resilience evaluation index though remote sensing and forest inventory data, forest disturbances and recovery monitoring, forest resilience assessment, monitoring and early warning methods, and case studies of forest resilience assessment in China, Europe and America. This symposia will give us a better understanding of the concept of forest ecosystem resilience, the ways to assess forest resilience, and the forest management policies to improve forest resilience. 

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