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贫地变粮仓!华东师大“幸福生态米”获大丰收 Turning Barren land into a granary! ECNU “Happiness” Ecological Rice crops well


On September 25, more than 50 teachers and students from ECNU held a ceremony again on Hengsha Island, Chongming District, to mark the start of harvesting the “Happiness” Ecological Rice. University students harvested the new crop of rice like farmers.For three consecutive years, the “Happiness” Ecological Rice grown by the research team of ECNU on the improved soil of Hengsha Island has seen a bumper harvest.

“Seeing that our rice has full grains and grows very well, the neighboring farmers all come to ask what methods we have used to grow rice. They add us as friends on WeChat so that they can be advised later on,” said Deng Hong, the project leader.

“Happiness” Ecological Rice is an achievement of the soil improvement research conducted by ECNU in the siltation and reclamation area. Last year, the yield per unit area of late rice in the improved field increased by up to 128% compared with that in the control field.

Hengsha Island East Shoal, with a total area of 160,000 mu (26,358 acres), is an important reserve resource for both eco-island construction and agricultural development of Chongming. However, the soil of these new lands, mainly from the mud in estuaries, is sandy and low in organic matter and nutrients. What’s worse, it also contains a certain degree of soil salinization. Therefore, solutions are urgently needed for rapid soil improvement.

Starting from 2019, the ecological restoration innovation team led by Associate Prof. Deng Hong from the School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences of ECNU has implemented a comprehensive program to improve soil fertility and biological activity. Given the low occurrence of plant diseases and pests, only small amounts of pesticides were used.

In 2020, the research team successfully improved 35 mu of soil in the new lands of Hengsha Island. The average yield of rice per mu exceeded 400 kilograms in the improved field, 16%-128% higher than that of the control field. The rice produced is pollution free, known among ECNUers as “Happiness” Ecological Rice. Based on professional evaluation, the rice is found to be superior in look and taste to the rice of the same variety produced from some other mature fields.

This year, the soil is planted with 40 mu of early rice and 60 mu of late rice. The research team will track and evaluate the effects of soil improvement over the past two years, particularly in the aspects of restoration in soil biota and ecosystem function. Techniques developed by the research team, such as the microbial agents, biochar-based microbial fertilizers, and restoration of farmland key species, were also carried out as a demonstration.

According to Deng Hong, based on the nearby resource utilization concept of crop straw, the team members manufactured crop straw biochar through pyrolysis technology. At the same time, they optimized the pyrolysis temperature and the additive amount of biochar to form the preparation technology of biochar-based microbial fertilizers that can effectively carry microorganisms and nutrients. The experiment proved that this microbial fertilizer can effectively promote the growth of crops. Currently, they have applied an invention patent for this fertilizer.

The research team also successfully screened a highly effective plant growth-promoting bacteria from saline soil to improve the salt resistance of crops, and formed a composite yield-increasing technology combining local high-efficiency microbial agents and plant immune inducers. The technology is also patented.

Liu Jie, Party Secretary of the School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences of ECNU, pointed out that in the future, the research team will focus on the common problems of food chain destruction in farmland and develop effective solutions for sustainable farming. She also said that the value of every scientific researcher was realized by helping rural revitalization through professional practice.

In the new phase of soil improvement experiment launched this year, the school implemented simultaneously the labor education activities in combination with farming culture. The labor practice course of “Happiness” Ecological Rice, which runs through the soil improvement work of new lands in Hengsha Island, covers a full cycle of rice cultivation, including the beginning of the solar term ‘Grain in Ear’, the summer study travel, and bumper harvest celebrations.

According to Zhao Yue, people have experienced busy traffics in the city, but they seldom go to the fields to experience nature and the joy of labor. “This activity also lets us better understand the hard work of researchers behind this ecological base!”

Associate Prof. Deng Hong and Lin Delong, Assistant to the Director of Academic Affairs Office attended the unveiling ceremony of the labor education practice base

Zhou Xiaoqi was teachingthe course of Natural Cognition and Ecological Interpretationin the fields

“Song Kun, who teaches the course of Natural Cognition and Ecological Interpretation, led us to observe the paddy field canals, asked us to think about and discuss the canals’ features and functions. This has enabled us to learn the knowledge of the ecological corridor and critically evaluate its advantages and disadvantages.” Song Mengqi, a student of 2021 class majoring in ecology, said that she, as an ecology major student, should not be satisfied with being an armchair strategist, but should work like a soldier who takes the field as the main battlefield of scientific research.

On Hengsha Island, the rice paddy paintings and the sea of colorful flowers in the “Island Art Garden” scenic area have attracted tourists worldwide. This year, the paddy field paintings onthe soil improvement demonstration site of ECNUhave had a new member ---a “little colorful lion” formed by rice of different rice varieties to mark the celebration of the university’s 70thanniversary.

The “little colorful lion” was “painted” with rice of different colors, such as green, black, and yellow, vivid and true to life.

Deng Hong said, “in order to create ‘colorful rice paddy paintings’, they have designed the space and patterns with scientific technologies from the beginning of rice planting. Meanwhile, accurate and efficient field management is also indispensable when the rice grows.” She adopted the cartoon image of the “little colorful lion” to present the beauty of agriculture through scientific research achievements. This not only shows the beautiful style and features of Chongming, a world-class ecological island, but also vividly tells the scientific research story of generations of ECNUers serving ecological China. It is also a celebration for the 70thanniversary of ECNU.

The “little colorful lion” shot from a drone was waving to everyone with a smile in a festive atmosphere of harvest, looking forward to the advent of the university’s 70thanniversary!

Author: Xu Xincheng, Yun Xiao

Photo by Li Li, Li Wawa, Wang Bin, Chen Shuye

Copy editor: Philip Nash

Editor: Yuan Yiwei

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