In early 2021, the Ministry of Education(ME) started the recommendation of the 4th Typical Target-Poverty-Alleviation Projects of the Universities Administered by Provincial-Level Governments. Altogether 32 provincial-level education departments and 14 universities co-built by ME and the provincial governments recommended 103 projects. According to the recommendation rules, voted by 32 provincial-level education departments and 75 universities under the direct administration of ME, the projects of 31 universities from 26 provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities and Xinjiang Construction Corps were selected. Recently, ME announced the results. IMU’s recommended project- “Grassland Health Examination to Boost the Revitalization of Pastoral Areas” that Prof. Qi Zhi with the School of Life Sciences of IMU is in charge of-has been successfully selected as one of the typical projects.
A Brief Introduction to the Project –“Grassland Health Examination to Boost the Revitalization of Pastoral Areas”
I. The Project of Grassland Health Examination
Grassland is an organic eco-system of soil, grass and livestock. The categories and abundance of mineral substances in the soil of grassland impact the quality of wild forage grass and in turn influence the reproduction and breeding of grassland livestock. Now the status quo of mineral substances of soil, grass, livestock in the grassland of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are unknown, which constrains the target restoration of grassland eco-system and establishment of the system for scientific fodder supplementation of grazed livestock. Based on the State Key Laboratory of Reproduction Regulation and Breeding of Grassland Livestock and the platform of the Key Laboratory of Herbage and Endemic Crop Biology of ME, the research team led by Prof. Qi Zhi has launched and led the first “Grassland Health Examination ”since 2017.
From July 2 to October 2, 2019, Qi’s team went to 44 banners and counties in Inner Mongolia(banner is an administrative district which is roughly equivalent to a county in Inner Mongolia.)including those county-level cities and districts. In the grassland of Hulun Buir City， Hinggan League(league is an administrative district which is roughly equivalent to a large city which administers counties, banners and county-level cities in Inner Mongolia), Tongliao City, Chifeng City, Xilingol League, Ulanqab City, Baotou City, Bayan Nuir City and Ordos City, the team, has, with the same method, set up 2065 quadrats, collected 21337 soil samples and established the “Soil Bank of Inner Mongolia Grassland in 2019” which will be kept permanently at Inner Mongolia University.
The team has also collected the blood samples of 4674 mutton sheep from 9 animal husbandry companies in 7 leagues and cities and the blood samples of 1463 mutton sheep from 17 herdsman households in 5 banners of 3 leagues, and set up the sheep blood bank. In order to accomplish testing the mineral substances of the collected samples of soil, grass and livestock, IMU has established “the Grassland Health Center” with an area of 1000 square meters, which, supported by the fund for “Double-First-Class Construction”, has purchased the equipment for the analysis and testing of the mineral substances of collected samples of soil, grass, livestock. The team plans to finish the distribution diagram of the mineral substances and metallic elements of soil and sheep in Inner Mongolia grassland to focus on guiding the ecological restoration of degraded grassland in 24 banners whose major industry is animal husbandry and development of tailored salt bricks of Sumu(a town-level administrative district in Inner Mongolia.) for grazing sheep and goats.
II. The Technological Demonstration Project for Grassland Healthy Ranch
Based on the results of the first “Grassland Health Examination” conducted by the research team led by Prof. Qi Zhi, the team has led and carried out “the Technological Demonstration Project for Grassland Health Examination” in Xilingol League regarding the problem of “the high quality and low price” of sheep and goats grazed on the grassland and the fact that herdsmen are not strongly motivated enough to protect the ecological environment of the grassland. With the technological system for the efficient and scientific testing of the health indices of the soil, fodder grass and livestock on the grassland as the tool, the team helps and guides herdsmen to graze and raise sheep and goats on the grassland in a scientific and standard way on the basis of Gacha(a village-like community in the pastoral areas in Inner Mongolia.) and then cooperate with mutton production and sale companies to provide high-quality and healthy grassland mutton for end consumers who pursue healthy life in order to form a scientific and market supporting system for the high quality and high price of grassland sheep and goats and drive herdsmen economically to protect the ecological environment of the grassland.
Recommended by the Ethnic Affairs Commission of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the technological demonstration project for “the Grassland Healthy Ranch” has actively got involved in the pilot work of pastoral area modernization in Abaga Banner which was started by the Inner Mongolia Autonomous government. On January 9, 2020, Prof. Qi Zhi was engaged by the CPC committee of Abaga Banner and the government of the banner as “chief expert with the pastoral area modernization” to establish the “grassland healthy ranch” with the local Urank goats as the main body in Nomuhan Gacha, Bayantuga Sumu, Abaga Banner, “the pilot area for the restoration of degraded grassland” based on Gacha and “breeding ranch for wild fodder grass seeds” and explore to bring into being the pattern for the restoration of ecological environment conducted voluntarily by the herdsmen who can accept the advanced ecological ideas.
III. Popularization of scientific knowledge about grassland
The teenagers in the pastoral areas are the future of the grassland and the ones who will carry out and directly benefit from the ecological construction on the grassland. To promote the active participation of the teenagers in pastoral areas in the ecological protection of the grassland and increase the grassland knowledge of the teenagers in the pastoral areas, Prof. Qi Zhi has, since 2017, given over 20 reports to popularize the knowledge about grassland for primary schools, middle schools, animal husbandry companies and the government agencies. Over 1500 Mongolian herdsmen students have listened to the reports. And there were total attendances of 3000 for the reports.
Since 2018, cooperating with Grassland Culture Preservation and Development Fund of Inner Mongolia, the research team led by Prof. Qi Zhi has successively established "Grassland Science Laboratory for Teenagers in Pastoral Areas" at Abaga Banner Mongolian Middle School, West Ujimqin Banner Comprehensive Senior High School, Ordos Second Mongolian Middle School, Siziwang Banner Mongolian Middle School, Jarud Banner Mongolian Middle School in Tongliao City, Charsu Town Junior High School in Horqin Left Wing Rear Banner, Tongliao City to guide the teenagers in pastoral areas to study what mineral substances the plants in their own pastures need and the mineral substance conditions of the soil and sheep and goats grazed on their own pastures.
On June 28, 2021, the research team led by Prof. Qi Zhi invited 4 teachers and 8 students from West Ujimqin Banner Comprehensive Senior High School to Prof. Qi Zhi's laboratory to fully study the ways to collect and sort out the samples of soil, manure of sheep and goat and wool on the grassland and the ways to test the mineral elements in order to enhance the experiential capabilities of animal husbandry majors of herdsmen's vocational school. Through the popularization and application of knowledge about grassland, a better atmosphere has been created for a situation in which all people concerned on the grassland participate in the project for the health examination of grassland ecological conditions.
On the basis of setting up the basic scientific and technological supporting system for the pastoral areas and with the herdsmen who would like to accept the ideas of the project as the main body for which the project is carried out and who the research team mainly serves, the research team led by Prof. Qi Zhi has carried out such three projects as "the Project for Grassland Health Examination", "the Project for Grassland Healthy Ranches" and " the Project for Grassland Science Laboratory for Teenagers in Pastoral Areas ", which has made contributions to exploring new paths for the high-quality development of ecological animal husbandry in the grassland areas of Inner Mongolia and building beautiful Inner Mongolia and realizing the great China Dream.