The College of Natural Resources and Environment at Northwest A&F University was established in July 2000 through the merger of four university departments and research institutes: (1) Northwest Agricultural University’s Department of Environmental Science, (2) Northwest Forestry College’s Department of Soil and Water Conservation and Desertification Control, (3) Shaanxi Province’s Soil and Fertilizer Research Institute and (4) the Shaanxi Provincial Academy of Science’s Institute for the Management of the Loess Plateau. The combination of agriculture, natural science, geo-science, and environmental science into one body is a new form for university colleges. The origin of the College of Natural Resources and Environment dates back to 1930’s with the founding of the Northwest Advanced Technical College of Agriculture and Forestry (the predecessor to Northwest A&F University). The technical college began recruiting undergraduates in Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry in 1936. Plant Nutrition was added shortly afterward. With the efforts of generations, undergraduate and postgraduate education within the college developed steadily. Currently the college has students at three academic levels: undergraduate, Master, and Ph.D, plus post-doctorates. A complete, multi-disciplinary educational system has been established. The College of Resources and Environment is currently directing the research Loess erosion environment ecological restoration theories and models, one of state key programs of national “211 projects”.
In recent years, the College of Natural Resources and Environment are focusing on personnel training, subject construction, technology innovation and promotion, as well as expanding international cooperation and exchanges. Up to date, the college has 156 faculty members and staffs, 1526 undergraduate students and 719 graduate students.
Undergraduate and Graduate Program
With its development in recent years, the College of Natural Resources and Environment has become a well structured academic team. The college currently has a key discipline at the national-level (Soil Science), two key disciplines at the provincial level: Plant Nutrition (key discipline of Shaanxi Province) and Soil and Water Conservation and Desertification Control (key discipline of the State Forestry Bureau) and a mobile post-doctoral research institute in agricultural resource utilization. There are six undergraduate majors: Resource and Environment Science, Soil and Water Conservation and Desertification Control (national-level category II), Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Geological Information Systems (GIS), and Human Geography and Urban and Rural Planning. And the college offers six graduate (master’s and Ph. D) programs: Soil Science, Plant Nutrition, Land Resources and Space Information Technology, Resources and Environmental Biology, Environmental Science, and Environmental Engineering. In addition to the six graduate programs listed above, Master programs are also offered in the areas of Cartography and Geographic Information Technology. Besides, the college is also authorized to offer Master program for agricultural extension technician, technical college teachers, and engineers. What’s more, two fields are offered for post-doctoral program: Agricultural Resources Utilization and Environmental Science and Engineering.
Currently, there are full-time undergraduate students 1526, Master students 719, Ph. D students 152 (including international students) enrolled in the college.
There are totally 156 faculty members in the college at the present time, among which 29 are professors and researchers, 30 are associate professors and associate researchers, 70% hold a doctor’s degree, 22 tutors for doctoral candidates, and 46 tutors for master’s degree candidates. One of faculties was chosen for the “Million Talents Project”. Three faculties have been selected into Ministry of Education’s “New Century Plan for Supporting Outstanding Talent”. One young faculty was chosen for “the teaching and research award program for outstanding Young Teacher in Higher Education Institutions of MOE”. Provincial recognition was given to two faculty members for their outstanding contributions, and two were supported by Shaanxi Province’s “The Three Fives” Project for Professional Development. And one faculty was selected by academic leader supporting program of the university. Thirty-four faculties have studied aboard.
Research stations, Equipments and Facilities
In order to supply better experimental fields, the College of Natural Resource and Environment has several experimental stations with different climate condition: Heyang Dryland Farming Experiment Station, Chunhua Multi-Purpose Experiment Base, Yangling State Loess Fertility and Fertilizer Monitoring Base, Yuling Sand Control Research Station, with the total area up to 100,000 m2. And the college has more than one thousand pieces of equipments and facilities, providing testing services for more than 20 majors from nine colleges of the university, such as: Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry, TOC analyzer, Atomic Fluorescence Spectroscopy, GC-MS, Photosynthesis and Respiration Analyzer, Soil Respiration analyzer, Auto-analyzer, and plant eco-physiology monitor, etc.
During the “Eleven-Five plan”, the College of Natural Resources and Environment has undertaken and directed national and provincial 180 research projects, with funding more than 10 million RMB and made more than 100 major scientific and technological achievements: 10 National Science and Technology Progress Award, 50 provincial and ministerial level scientific and technological progress awards, 40 bureau class award, more than 40 university teaching awards and 4 national innovation patents, 3 utility patents, more than 50 text books and monographs, 1365 publications, 196 of them are of SCI/EI.
International Academic Activities
The College of Natural Resources and Environment is very active in international cooperation and exchange. Most of the faculties have research experiences in advanced institutions abroad, including USA, Canada, Germany, UK, Austria，etc. Since 2005, faculties have been aboard foreign institutions to conduct cooperative research, and foreign scientists have been invited to participate in seminar activities and academic exchanges. Several international research collaboration were set up between the college and universities and institutes, “China-US Center for Conservation and Environment Protection”, “Canada Centre for Arid Agricultural Science and Technology”, “Sustainable Agricultural Development in collaboration with the British network” , “Environmental Research Center in Austria” . And other international academic exchange platform Invite famous scholars to give lectures and academic exchanges. More than 100 foreign scholars have visited the College of Resources and Environment in recent years.