■   Introduction

      The School of Ecology and Environment of Inner Mongolia University (IMU) was established in December 2016 as an integration of the former College of Environment and Resources, and the Department of Ecology of College of Life Sciences. The School carries over the rich experience in tertiary education and academic research accumulated during past 60 years since the establishment of IUM in 1957, and has the functions of delivering tertiary education, carrying out scientific research and providing social services in the field of ecology and environmental science and natural resources management.

      Ecology, Environmental Science and Engineering are the key disciplines of IMU. Their development has been strongly supported by the government as a part of "Project 211 - Development of One Hundred Best Universities in China in the 21st Century", "Project for Comprehensive Strength Promotion of the Universities in Central and Western China" and "Project to Develop the World First-Class Disciplines". Ecology at IMU is accredited by the Ministry of Education of China as a key discipline of national importance with special characteristics. Both ecology and environmental science programs are recognized as the flagship programs in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The School has complete tertiary education system to train students at bachelor, master and doctorate levels, and host post-doctoral researchers in ecology, environmental science and engineering, grassland science, and atmospheric science.

     The scientific research in the School has specific characteristics, focusing on the macro-ecology and sustainable resources use on the Mongolia Plateau, ecology and adaptive management of grassland ecosystems, plant evolution and molecular ecology, restoration and management of damaged ecosystems, wetland and water resources in arid and semi-arid zones, environmental geochemical cycle, environmental pollution control and waste resourcelization, ecosystem services and management. The ecological research in arid and semi-arid areas is well recognized by the academic community. The School has also played an important role, as the think-tank and technical support base, in the implementation of ecological security strategy, promotion of ecological civilization, protection of environment and sustainable use of natural resources.

■   A Brief History
Professor Jitong Li Professor Bo Li

1957: Dr Jitong Li, a professor at Peking University and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, took up the appointment of vice-president of Inner Mongolia University when the university was founded. Professor Li was recognized as the founder of modern ecology in China. He moved his department of ecology and geobotany at Peking University along with him to Inner Mongolia University, and initiated a program to train students in ecology.

1977: by Prof. Bo Li, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the first Bachelor program in Ecology in China was established in Inner Mongolia University under the auspices of the Ministry of Education of China (The major was named as 'plant)

1982: Inner Mongolia Institute of Natural Resources was established under the auspices of the government of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, with the faculty of the Department of Ecology of IMU as its main staff. The Institute was later reconstructed as an Institute of IMU.

1994: A bachelor program in environmental science was approved by the Ministry of Education. In 1995, the former Department of Biology of IMU was expanded and renamed as the College of Life Sciences, and the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science was established in the College.

2008: A part of the faculty specialized in environmental science in the Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences of College of Life Sciences was diverted to establish a new College of Environment and Resources. This College delivers bachelor programs in environmental science and engineering. The Department of Ecology and Environmental Science of College of Life Sciences was renamed as Department of Ecology.

2016: School of Ecology and Environment was established as an integration of Department of Ecology of College of Life Sciences and College of Environment and Resources.

■   The Faculty

    The School has high-talented faculties in education and scientific research. There are 70 full-time staffs as in 2016, of which 16 professors, 21 associate professors. Many staffs have international academic background, and are capable of carrying out national key scientific research projects. The School also employs guest/part-time professors from internationally well-known universities and institutes.

    The School has a 'National Teaching Team' in ecology and environmental sciences, a 'National Science Research and Training Base' and a 'National High-Quality Course of Ecology', all accredited by the Ministry of Education of China. In addition, many staffs have been recognized in various talent programs, such as "Hundred - Thousand - Ten Thousand Talent Project" (National program), "New-Century Outstanding Talent Support Program" (Ministry of Education of China program), "Grassland Talent Project", "New Century 321 Talent Project", "Youth Leaders in Science and Technology and Higher Education" (Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region program). A number of staffs serve as the members of the Higher Education Steering Committee for the Ministry of Education of China, and as the standing members of the Ecological Society, the Society of Environmental Sciences, Association of Natural Resources, and Grassland Society of China, and in the editorial board of many academic journals such as Plant Ecology, Journal of Arid Land, Grassland Science, etc..

■   The Programs

      The School has five departments, delivering bachelor degrees in ecology, environmental science, environmental engineering, ecological engineering, and atmospheric science; master degree in ecology, environmental science and engineering, and grassland science; and PhD degree in ecology. It also hosts many post-doc researchers.

Ecology:The program of ecology and geobotany was started in IMU in 1957. It confers the Bachelor of Science in Ecology in 1977 (the first program of Bachelor of Science in Ecology in China), Master of Science in Ecology in 1986, and PhD in Ecology in 1990. At present, The 'Ecology' program in IMU is a national key program, with unique characteristics in the universities of China, accredited by the Ministry of Education of China; and is a famous key program of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The School has a national level high-quality curriculum of "General Ecology" and a national key video course of "The Magic Mongolian Plateau". IMU also hosts a National Training Base for High-Quality Talents in Scientific Research in Biology (including ecology).

Environmental Science and Engineering:The University started to confer Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science in 1994, confer Master of Science degree in Environmental Science in 1998, and confer the Master and Bachelor degree in Environmental Engineering in 2005 and 2009 respectively. In 2011, the two master programs were merged as one: Master of Environmental Science and Engineering. The bachelor degree in Environmental Science was recognized as a famous key program in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Grassland Science:The University started to confer Master of Agriculture degree in Grassland Science in 2003. This is an independent program, but in association with master degree program in ecology, reflecting the fact that grassland ecology is the major area of scientific research in IMU.

Atmospheric Science:A new Bachelor of Science program in Atmospheric Science will start in September 2017.

School of Ecology and Environment and its predecessor institutes at IMU have trained a large number of students in ecology, environmental science and engineering, grassland science and resources management during the past six decades. There are currently more than 600 undergraduate students and 350 graduate students (310 for Master degree and 40 for doctoral degree). The School has an 'Experimental Center for Ecology and Environmental Science', and a variety of specialized laboratories for student internship and research. The School has exchange and collaborative programs with many universities and scientific research institutes, such as the exchange program with Peking University, the joint program with Portland University (USA). There are also several research bases for training practical skills, such as IMU Grassland Ecology Research Base (in Xilingol, central Inner Mongolia), Grassland Ecosystem Research Station (Chinese Academy of Sciences), and National Parks of Forest and Grassland (e.g., Daqing Mt., Helan Mt. and Xilingol, etc.), as well as the Inner Mongolia Environmental Monitoring Center, and the Environmental Monitoring and Protection Station in Hohhot and other cities.

■   Scientific Research

        The scientific research in the School has five themes: (i) Macro-ecology and sustainable resources use on the Mongolian Plateau, covering the forest, steppe, desert, wetland and water resources; (ii) Ecosystem ecology and adaptive management of grasslands, including biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, as well as ecosystem services and management, (iii) Restoration ecology and restoration of damaged ecosystems, (iv) Environmental pollution control and geochemistry cycle, and (v) Plant and microbial evolution and molecular ecology, etc..

       Around these research themes, the School has several research platforms and laboratories, including (i) Inner Mongolia Key Laboratory of Grassland Ecology, a Laboratory accredited by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China as a Candidate for State Key Laboratory, (ii) Inner Mongolia Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution Control and Waste Resourcelization, (iii) Inner Mongolia Center for Waste Water Treatment and Use in Coal Mining Industry, (iv) Institute of Natural Resources of IMU, (v) Grassland Ecology Research Field Base of IMU (Xilingol), and (vi) Environmental Testing Center of IMU, as well as a variety of functional laboratories for research and teaching in the areas of plant-soil analysis, plant physiological ecology, molecular ecology, microbial ecology, environmental toxicology, environmental geochemistry, water resources in arid zone, and remote sensing and GIS.

Grassland Ecology Research Base in Xilingol
Environmental Pollution Control Lab

       The team has achieved a series of research outcomes with some international influence in the field of ecology, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. These research achievements include (a) inventory of the natural resources, such as compiling 'Vegetation of China' and 'Vegetation of Inner Mongolia', publishing a series of maps of natural resources in Inner Mongolia, and editing the flora and fauna of Inner Mongolia, (b) Research on the structure and functioning of grassland ecosystems, including biodiversity, water balance and nutrient cycling, (c) Development of sustainable grassland management regimes (e.g., sustainable mowing and grazing systems, and conservation of animal and plant resources), (d) Ecological restoration and environmental governance (such as restoration of damaged ecosystem, remediation of coal-mining wasteland, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions), (e) Climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation, (f) Wetland and hydrological ecology, emphasizing on wetland eutrophication, lake steady-state transition, and watershed hydrological simulation, (g) Environmental pollution control such as waste water treatment in coal-mining industry, (h) Environmental planning and management policy such as regional development planning and ecological compensation policy. These results have played an important role in supporting social development at regional and state levels.

       The School has the capability of undertaking the key R&D projects. Since 2011, the team in the School has undertaken various scientific research projects, aiming at solving the key issues in ecological security, environmental protection and sustainable development, and received a funding of $140 million from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (as National Key R&D Plan projects, National Key Basic Research Program '973', and National Science and Technology Support Plan), National Natural Science Foundation of China (41 projects), Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Agriculture, and Department of Science and Technology of Inner Mongolia. The team has published more than 500 academic papers (of which 110 are on international peer-reviewed journals) and 25 books/monographs, and won numerous awards, such as National Natural Science Awards, the National Science and Technology Progress Awards, the Ministry of Agriculture Science and Technology Progress Awards, the State Commission Science and Technology Awards, the Science and Technology Progress Awards of Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as the Inner Mongolia Natural Sciences Awards.

       School of Ecology and Environment aims to develop to a center of excellence for both tertiary education and scientific research in ecology and environmental science, and a think-tank and technical R&D base to support social development and the implementation of national and regional eco-security strategy, ecological civilization construction, environmental protection, sustainable resources use and environment- friendly social construction.

■   Contacts

Administration Office

School of Ecology and Environment, Inner Mongolia University

235 West University Street, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia 010021, China

Email: see_office@imu.edu.cn; Telephone: (+86) 471 4991436; 499 3130