Projects

Our projects target the major grain crop rice and its production system. We use our national site network across China to understand how crop diversification and innovative technology can increase the sustainability and resilience of the rice production system, meanwhile, benefit people and the environment.

Diversification in Rice Production System

Rice is a staple food for more than half of the global human population and is primarily produced in Asia, with China being the most important producer. In this project, we aim to investigate the effect of diversification strategy on the ecological, social, and economic aspects of rice production. Diversification strategy has shown the potential to improve the sustainability and resilience of food production and provide a scientific basis for sustainable agricultural development. Scientists have conducted extensive and intensive research in rice, and a variety of diversification strategy measures such as crop rotation and intercropping have been adopted in rice production. We build on the existing work on the effects of diversification strategy measures in rice production by creating a database to understand the benefits of diversification in rice production.

 

The keywords, such as, "straw return", "crop rotation", "intercropping" and "rice field" were used for literature search in database CNKI and Web of Science. Both Chinese and English literature were searched. Through the preliminary literature title screening, there are more than 2000 relevant research articles and 50 meta-analysis articles. We will further extract data from these relevant articles and create the database. The expected outcomes of this project will be:1, A meta-analysis on the effect of diversification on rice production; 2, A website presenting all the diversification practice applications in rice production system across China and other countries; 3, A smartphone application which can guide famers to apply appropriate diversification practices in their rice farm.

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Integrating Agricultural Diversification in China’s Major Policies for Sustainable and Resilient Crop Production

Agricultural diversification is being proposed as a solution for achieving both food security and agricultural sustainability, but so far there has been little implementation of such policy at a larger scale. In China, major policies promote the “High-standard farmland consolidation” (HSFC) strategy to improve productivity and reduce environmental degradation in the world’s largest food production areas by simplifying landscapes on small farms. As China’s Central government is asking for scientific innovations to improve its sustainable development strategy, we argue that China can become a role model to integrate diversification in its major policies if HSFC diversifies instead of simplifies on smaller farms to achieve national food security and sustainable development goals. First, we summarize the effects of agricultural diversification and farm size on biodiversity, ecosystem services, crop yields, and agricultural supply chains. We then use text mining tools on the past 17 years of 1CD policies to show that agricultural diversification has received limited attention. We provide specific recommendations of how to integrate diversification in China’s major policies from the national (5YNP, 1CD) to the provincial level and in the major agricultural commodities rice, tea, wheat, and rapeseed. We also recommend decreasing field sizes in the HSFC strategy to set an example for a positive paradigm shift in China’s major agricultural production areas.

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Automated monitoring system in paddy field

We are developing low-cost embedded computer vision cameras for in situ macrobiology monitoring. We will apply the cameras in the rice production system for better pest monitoring and biocontrol.

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