The research topic of this IRES program addresses the possibility of designing the urban ecosystem to deal with the negative effects of climate change. The proposed program will send students from Southern University and Louisiana State University to China to conduct collaborative research with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Applied Ecology and Southern China Botanical Garden, and the Beijing Forestry Institute, The research will be directed at four general topics: Modeling the impact of global warming and urbanization on natural resources; Combined effects of elevated levels of carbon dioxide and ozone on urban forests; Carbon storage and sequestration by urban forests; and Response of soil carbon dynamics to long-term nitrogen deposition in a tropical forest at the urban-rural interface.
Each year four undergraduates and four graduate students will participate in the research activities in China. The project focuses on a very topical area of interest (i.e. sustainability), which has growing importance considering the world's current dependence on fossil fuels and the concomitant rise in greenhouse-gas levels. It involves a unique collaboration between the U.S. universities and the institutions in China. The substance of the research efforts should lead to better understanding of complex environmental dynamics in urban settings, which should have application in the U.S. and China as in other parts of the world and promote effective mitigation strategies. Also, the involvement of an HBCU in the IRES program should make a positive contribution to human-resource development in this field.