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Introduction to the National Center for International Research on Karst Dynamics and Global Change (NICK)

Date:2014-01-01 Author:IRCK/NICK

Introduction to the National Center for International Research on Karst Dynamics and Global Change (NICK)

The National Center for International Research on Karst Dynamics and Global Change, or NICK, was established according to the requirement of the Ministry of Science andTechnology, as well as the Chinese Geological Survey of the Ministry of Landand Resources, its higher authority. Hosted within the premises of theInstitute of Karst Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, NICK follows a guideline of “Innovating theories and serving the economy by focusingon karst and by adopting a global perspective” to leverage China’s advantagesin karstology, with the support of the international team that has been established through the successful implementation of IGCP projects under UNESCO, and academic findings over the last 25 years. It is designed to buildan international scientific cooperation model that combines “projects, talentsand bases” in karstology, deepen basic research on karst dynamic systems and global change, and provide services to address global climate change and the resources and environmental problems in China and the world at large.

Objectivesof NICK:

  • to create four platforms in terms of innovation, international cooperation, talent training and social service by leveraging the advantages of the Institute of Karst Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences; International Research Center on Karst under the Auspices of UNESCO (IRCK); and NICK, by fully depending on the platform of CGS with ten Programs, 50 sub-programs andmore than 300 projects, and by working with scientists in other countries who are also actively involved in karstological research;

  • to build NICK into a leading institution on modern karstology, and research on karst dynamic systems and global change in the world;

  • to demonstrate how to address karst resources and environmental issues caused by global change for karst-related countries across the world.

Major Research Topics of NICK:

  • the significance of karst process to global carbon cycle and carbon sink effect;

  • high-resolutionpaleoclimatic records from stalagmites in caves;

  • the response and recovery of fragile karst ecosystems to global change;

  • assessment and protection of karst landscapes and geological relics.

Overall Progress and Roles

  • Since September 2013, NICK has been actively working to build an international platform on Karst research. So far, it has signed 15 cooperativeagreements with some famous universities and research institutions worldwide, organized or co-organized 11 international symposia, and conducted academic exchange with more than 200 scientists from 40 countries. In addition, NICK has helped organize four international training courses, which were attended by more than 100 trainees from over 30 countries. With its support, a total of 39 monitoring stations on karst carbon cycle have also been established worldwide.

  • 11 field observation and research bases in China ( four of which are field observation and research bases under the Ministry of Land and Resources) have been built, which are used to study karst dynamic systems and their resources and environmental effects. Each year, 60 foreign experts come to visit thesebases for study tour and joint research.

  • The International Big Scientific Plan on “Resources and Environmental Effects of Global Karst Dynamic Systems” was launched, for which scientists from 11 countries signed their letter of support; international comparative studies and scientific activities were conducted for the IGCP project “Formation, material cycle and sustainable function of karst critical zone”,and a network and information system on monitoring stations in karst critical zones have been established; in the global karst areas which represent Tethyan tectonic domain, international geological survey projects on karst resources and environmental problems were implemented to provide service for China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

  • Remarkable achievements have been made in five areas: operation pattern of karst dynamic systems (modern karstology); karst carbon cycle and global change;high-resolution records from stalagmites and reconstruction of paleo environment; karst ecosystem and rocky desertification control; assessment of karst landscape and geological relics. NICK is leading the world in research on karst carbon cycle and global climate change, and reconstruction of karst ecological conditions under climate change, thus becoming a core engine forkarst research all over the world.                                                             

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