Eco-Management Centre

Establishment of a Centre for Eco-Management and Spatial Information Techniques, Yunnan University (P.R. of China)

Funding agency: Vlaamse Interuniversitaire Raad (VLIR)

Promoters: Robert De Wulf, Ou Xiaokun

Duration: 10/2002 – 09/2006


Project objectives

  1. To link the presently existing knowledge base of IEG in the field of ecology, and the new expertise acquired during the project, with particular reference to spatial information techniques (SIT) and environmental impact assessment (EIA), to the local socio-economic problems typical for Yunnan province in general and for the catchment areas of Lancang river in particular;
  2. To raise awareness of local management level (Province, county, nature reserve) to the potential of SIT and EIA to support more sustainable land use;
  3. To help the IEG develop into a 'Centre of Reference' (Centre for Eco-Management and Spatial Information Techniques - CEMSIT), in the Western provinces of the P.R. of China to act in the fields of education, research and service to the community with special emphasis on conservation and ecological restoration of the Lancang catchment area (an established Government priority);
  4. To contribute to forest (rainforests and subtropical mountain forests) protection measures, and support implementing new guidelines through the development of adapted methods based on SIT and EIA.

In view of the primordial objective of the project to establish a Centre for Eco-Management and Spatial Information Techniques (CEMSIT), Yunnan University (P.R. of China), which at the end of the project should have the human (expertise, upgraded skills and knowledge) and physical resources to with the following issues:

  1. Creation of new and upgrading of existing human resource base (expertise, skills, knowledge) on the following aspects:
    • Assessment of biophysical resources and their interactions, with special emphasis on rainforests and subtropical mountain forests
    • Terrestrial inventory methods (survey, field measurements)
    • Spatial information techniques partim Remote Sensing: satellite data acquisition, decision on the feasibility of space borne data types vs. the project's objectives, acquisition of ancillary data types, the image processing chain incorporating data formatting, image pre-processing, image classification and thematic map creation, accuracy assessment
    • Spatial information techniques partim Geographical Information Systems (GIS): Creation of a land database, mastering of input procedures (digitizing), development of queries, multiple data examination, thematic map creation, developing different management scenarios
    • General assessment of the influence of human intervention on natural resources in the middle and lower Lancang river ecosystems through the execution of a draft strategic environmental assessment study of the proposed development plans (and alternative scenarios) in the project area.
    • Methods for historical analysis of land use using multi-temporal data analysis
    • Modelling of future trends and provision of scenarios of projected land use for local management level using multi-disciplinary (environmental sciences encompassing biology, forestry, SIT and human ecology) planning techniques
    • Provision of a framework for land capability studies in inter-agency framework to connect and validate ecological knowledge and expertise to local socio-economic problems typical for Yunnan Province
  2. Contributing to the physical resources (hardware, software, equipment) and their proper and effective functioning to enable CEMSIT to tackle academic education, research and service tasks related to assessment, management planning and EIA in the project areas in particular and in Yunnan in general.
    • Knowledge to operate and maintain hardware (particularly field equipment and computer hardware)
    • Basic technical knowledge to appraise and operate software in function of the project's objectives

Project partners

  • FORSIT – University of Ghent (Ugent, Belgium)
  • Department of Human Ecology - Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB, Belgium,
  • Institute of Ecology and Geobotany - Yunnan University (People's Republic of China)

Two key publications

Zhang, Z., Van Coillie, F., De Wulf, R., .De Clercq, E., and Ou, X. “Comparison of Surface and Planimetric Landscape Metrics for Mountainous Land Cover Pattern Quantification in Lancang Watershed, China.” MOUNTAIN RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT 32.2 (2012): 213–225.

Yang, Mingyu, Luc Hens, Robert De Wulf, Ou, X. “Measuring Tourist’s Water Footprint in a Mountain Destination of Northwest Yunnan, China.” JOURNAL OF MOUNTAIN SCIENCE 8.5 (2011): 682–693.