Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China


Image courtesy of Steven Buss via Wikimedia Commons

Image courtesy of Steven Buss via Wikimedia Commons

Inner Mongolia is a good choice for students interested in arid environments, desertification, renewable energies, and afforestation. The case study boundaries centre around the Horqin sandy land (alternative spellings include Horchin, Korqin, and Korchin), an area that has experienced intense desertification over the past few decades (the case study is located between the cities of Tongliao and Chifeng). To combat the encroaching desert, one of the most ambitious and controversial afforestation programs was launched in 1978, and continues to this day.

The case study area is located in the grassland steppe of Inner Mongolia, and much of the study area is blanketed with farmland and pasture. As such, water availability and soil erosion are topics of interest. However, the broader Inner Mongolia region – especially nearby Xilin Gol – includes mining and renewable energy projects, some of which have proven unpopular among locals. Inner Mongolia offers flexibility to students who are initially unsure of the direction they would like to head.

Knowledge of Mandarin is an asset for this case study, enabling access to numerous publications not in English, thus increasing the potential creativity of a group’s approach. However, any lack of familiarity should not be seen as at all restrictive to anyone interested in the area.


Energy/Resources:    Wind energy    Risks for Shale Gas    Desalination Plant     Desalination of  Water    Uranium Deposit    The Economist (mining)    GreenPeace (mining)    Mining Affect Grassland Ecosystem    Solar Energy    Investing in Solar Energy in Asia

Agriculture:    Wild Foods     Ephedra    Wild Vegetables

Conservation/Ecology:    Pave the Way for Green    Droughts    Grasslands of Inner Mongolia     China’s Cap-and-Trade Program

Society/Urban:    Traditional Botanical Knowledge    Traditional Medicine    Travel Guide Overview    pictures

Basic Geodata

Land cover data (compatible with ArcGIS) will be provided to you in class, covering three past time periods since the 1980s. The links below will show you the approximate boundaries (as seen in Google Earth with recent years), as well as the basic changes in land cover.

view in Google Earth

view Simple Land Cover Maps

Remember, in addition to Landsat-derived land cover, there are several more auxiliary geodata sets that have already been collected for you and will be provided in lab. These data include: terrain/elevation, nightlights which represent population, floristic zones, etc. and are available at all study locations. These datasets are introduced and explained further under Additional Data Sources. In addition to these ready-to-go, prepared auxiliary datasets, this page also provides ideas for additional datasets you might find on your own.