Johnny Morgan, Xu, Yi Jun, Datnoff, Lawrence, Nyman, John A.
BATON ROUGE, La. – A delegation of Chinese educators and researchers attended the signing of a Letter of Intent on Oct. 29 in Baton Rouge to collaborate with LSU and LSU AgCenter scientists.
The agreement was signed by LSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Stuart Bell, LSU Vice President for Agriculture Bill Richardson and Director General of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Northeast Institute of Geography and Agro-ecology (NEIGAE) Xingyuan He.
LSU AgCenter plant pathologist Lawrence Datnoff, who is the interim director of LSU AgCenter International Programs, said the signing date was scheduled during the International Forum on Wetland Ecosystem Functions and Services hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Northeast Institute of Geography and Agro-ecology in Changchun, China, from July 28 – August 3.
The purpose of the agreement is to formalize the collaboration and to strengthen the exchange of resources and talent, Datnoff said.
The conference was an opportunity for international scientists to see what is being done in other parts of the world, Datnoff said.
Richardson said the agreement will allow for a vital exchange of wetlands information.
“It actually provides a chance to utilize some research activity the NEIGAE center is doing, and it has long-range potential for us,” Richardson said. “It’s an information and technology swap – getting students and faculty up to speed on some things that will benefit all.”
Aixin Hou, associate professor in the LSU School of the Coast and Environment, served as translator for director He during the signing ceremony.
Hou said the wetlands conference was a great opportunity to exchange current knowledge of wetlands regarding the function processes and management of wetlands systems.
“The signing today will formalize the collaboration between the institute and LSU,” she said. “It means a lot because it will start a very formal program of exchanging students and faculty between the two institutions.”
Hou said a separate agreement has been signed with the Wetlands Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey in Lafayette.
“At the China conference, it was agreed that the Chinese and American scientists should work closer with each other in determining the best way to move forward in protecting these delicate areas,” Datnoff said.
In addition to Datnoff and Hou, two other LSU AgCenter faculty members who attended the international wetlands conference were Yi jun Xu and Andy Nyman, both professors in the School of Renewable Natural Resources. Also, Irving Avrum Mendelssohn, Qianxin Lin and Christopher D’Elia from the LSU School of the Coast and Environment attended.
Xu, who was instrumental in getting the signing meeting scheduled, said he began laying the groundwork for this meeting while working for several weeks on a project in China last year.
“I proposed to the director of the institute that we have an international forum between LSU researchers and their researchers to talk specifically about wetlands,” Xu said. “We covered over 600 miles during the conference, mainly in the northeastern part of the country where there are a lot of wetlands.”
Nyman said he was surprised at how similar the wetlands in China are to wetlands in south Louisiana.
“The vegetation is very familiar,” Nyman said. “I had a tour with a scientist who visited LSU a few years ago, and I was shown some very beautiful wetland areas there.”
The Chinese want to have a strong working relationship with LSU and the LSU AgCenter in wetlands because of the work that’s being done here, Datnoff said.