IGU Vice-President Bojie FU will be awarded the 2020 Alexander von Humboldt medal at the European Geophysical Union General Assembly in May.  This medal, named after Alexander von Humboldt, is awarded to scientists who have performed research in developing regions for the benefit of people and society, through which they have achieved exceptional international standing in geosciences, planetary or space sciences, defined in their widest senses.

Academician Bojie Fu is a distinguished professor in landscape ecology at the Research Centre for Eco-Environmental Sciences (RCEES), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). He is a leading scientist in landscape ecology and ecosystem restoration in the world. His research focuses on human coupled ecosystems with emphasis on interactions between human beings and the environment. Prof. Fu’s work on linking ecosystem processes with ecosystem services has revealed the relationships between ecosystem structure, land-use structure, vegetation functional traits, vegetation biomass, ecological processes (e.g. hydrological processes, nutrient cycling) and ecosystem services, and identified the key roles of soil water content and understory plant diversity in ecosystem service maintenance for dryland ecosystems. He is a pioneer in the development of landscape ecology in China. His achievements have resulted in significant international distinctions and recognitions.

He has led his team in developing methods for ecosystem service trade-off at multiple scales, and illustrated the trade-off or synergetic relationships of multiple ecosystem services and their spatial heterogeneity in semi-arid and semi-humid regions, in particular the Loess Plateau. They developed the annual precipitation threshold for forest vegetation restoration and the turning points from soil carbon source to soil carbon sink. The results provide a solid scientific base for wide application in the “Grain for Green” programme and regional ecosystem services improvement in China. He also developed a sediment attribution diagnostic method focusing on soil retention services and quantified the contribution of different drivers (climate change, vegetation restoration and ecological engineering) to sediment reduction from the Loess Plateau into the Yellow River over the past 60 years. The above results have provided a scientific basis for the optimization of ecosystem services in the Loess Plateau and the identification of governance strategies in the Yellow River basin.

He and his colleagues established the theory and methodology of ecological regionalization and ecosystem service regionalization, and compiled ecosystem service regionalization regulations, which have been applied in 31 provinces (autonomous regions, municipalities) and more than 600 counties in China. His team revealed the spatial characteristics of ecological sensitivity and ecosystem service importance in China, and identified 63 critical Ecological Function Conservation Areas (EFCA), which are the key to safeguard the ecological security of China. The scheme of ecosystem service regionalization has been applied nation-wide by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China – The results of EFCA were applied in delineation of national ecological protection red line areas and identification of national ecological compensation schemes in China, which provided an important basis for ecological protection and identification of ecological security patterns in China.

As the Chair of China National Scientific Committee for Ecological Protection and Restoration, Prof. Fu has led a team of senior scientists in formulating and implementing the guidelines for the ecological protection and restoration research in China, and has developed ecosystem assessment and comprehensive management technology with his colleagues for the fragile ecological regions, such as Loess Plateau and grassland degradation areas. Their studies provided scientific base for China “grain for green” program and created good ecological and social benefits and made China take the lead in greening of the world through ecosystem restoration and management.

Recent years, his research has extended to Africa and global scales for natural conservation and ecosystem services. He is leading an international research programme—“Global Dryland Ecosystem Programme”.

Prof. Fu has published some 500 peer-reviewed papers and 12 books, of which more than 310 published in international journals including Nature, Science, Nature Climate Change, and Nature Geoscience. Google Scholars ca 24500 citations with h-index 81, His Chinese papers have been cited >45600 times according to Chinese Citation Database (http://ref.cnki.net), ranked No.1 in Ecology, Earth Science and Environmental Sciences in China.

Dr Fu has provided more than 10 Policy Recommendation Reports with his team to China’s Central Government, such as “Policy Suggestions for Strengthening Ecosystem Monitoring and Management in China”, Improving “Grain to Green” policy with a long-term mechanism, “Suggestions for Sustainable Management of Yellow River Water and Sediment”, “Transforming Our Ecosystem Management Goals”, “The Nature Reserve Calls for Efficient Science-based Management”, “Water Resource Protection and Ecological Water Requirements in the Heihe River Basin”, and “The Lake and Wetland Ecosystems Management in China”. Most of these policy suggestions have been adopted by the government, and made important contributions to ecological civilization construction in China.

Because of his academic achievements, he was elected as a Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2011, and elected International Honorary Member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) in 2019, Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences for advancement of sciences in the developing countries (TWAS) in 2012, and Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society Edinburgh UK in 2015. He is the first International Honorary Member of AAAS from China in ecology and environmental sciences. Dr Fu was the Vice President of International Association for Ecology (INTECOL), MEP member of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), President of Chinese Geographical Society, Deputy Director of scientific committee of Chinese Ecosystem Research Network, Vice Chair of Chinese National Committee of Future Earth and Member of Science Advisory Committee, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

Dr Fu has obtained various awards and prizes including the China National Natural Sciences Prize in 2005, National Sciences & Technology Advancement Prize in 2012, Award for Distinguished Service by International Association for Landscape Ecology in 2011, Outstanding Science and Technology Achievement Prize of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2016, The Ho Leung Ho Lee Science and Technology Prize in 2017, and 10th China Environmental Award in 2019.