W6 The Food-Energy-Water Nexus in Asia and its Importance

The food-energy-water (FEW) nexus is of critical significance to Asia as two thirds of world’s population is living in this region and it accounts for nearly 60% and 30% of global water and energy consumption, respectively. It remains a pressing challenge to ensure food, water and energy security for sustaining Asian development.

This workshop focuses on a critical region, Asia, and serves as a model case to advance our understanding and assessment of FEW nexus for feeding an increasing population, and meeting human’s demands for water and energy while maintaining environmental sustainability. It may serve as a platform that “breaks down barriers between fields”, to build common ground and explore linkages among resource, technology, and economy in the FEW nexus for Asia and the world.

Moderator: Hanqin Tian, Solon & Martha Dixon Professor and Director, International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, Auburn University


  • Chaoqun Lu, Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Iowa State University
  • Yonglong Lu, Professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences and President, Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE)
  • Dennis Ojima, Professor, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability; Senior Research Scientist, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University; and Director, North Central Climate Science Center, Colorado State University
  • Shufen Pan, Director and Assistant Research Professor, Auburn University
  • Wei Ren, Assistant Professor, College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, University of Kentucky
  • Ge Sun, Senior Research Hydrologist, U.S. Forest Service
  • Qinxue Wang, Special Senior Researcher, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan
  • Hongyuan Yu, Director of Institute for Comparative Politics and Public Policy, Shanghai Institute for International Studies

Dr. Hanqin Tian’s research program aims at developing and applying an integrated systems approach to the understanding, quantification, and prediction of how multiple environmental stresses affect the ability of Earth’s ecosystems to provide people with essential goods and services including food, energy, clear air, and freshwater across the world, particularly in the Asian region. He was the president of the Ecological Society of America’s Asian Ecology Section and a recipient of the Global Change Science Prize recognizing his breakthrough achievement in understanding carbon cycle-ecosystem-climate interactions. He has provided scientific leadership and expertise to many national and international organizations. (334-844-1059; tianhan@auburn.edu)

Dr. Chaoqun Lu is a quantitative ecosystem ecologist. Her research uses a systems approach that incorporates process-based land ecosystem modeling, data-model assimilation, and geospatial analysis, to investigate how climate change, land use and land management practices have affected ecosystem production, crop yield, evapotranspiration, and water yield in the coupled human-natural system. Her current research focuses on the role of nitrogen cycle in FEW nexus through crop production, N2O emission and nitrogen yield from soil to runoffs, and modification of climate extremes to FEW nexus (e.g., climate impacts on grassland productivity, water yield and its implication to livestock production in the Mongolian Plateau). Dr. Lu contributes to regional assessment and quantification of natural and human controls over food-energy-water nexus. (515-294-7443, clu@iastate.edu)

Dr. Yonglong Lu is an elected Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS); the former President of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE); Science Advisor of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); a member of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Resource Panel; and Vice President of the Ecological Society of China. He has worked on the impacts of water and soil pollution as well as food safety, publishing more than 250 papers in peer-reviewed journals including Science, Nature, and Science Advances and authoring or co-authoring 16 books. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Ecosystem Health and Sustainability and the Associate Editor of Science Advances. He has obtained various awards and honors including the 2nd Prize of the National Award for Advancement of Science and Technology, the National Outstanding Young and Middle-aged Scientist, and the SCOPE Distinguished Achievement Award. (yllu@rcees.ac.cn)

Dennis Ojima’s research area involves the application of social ecological system approaches to climate and land use changes on ecosystems, carbon accounting, food security, and adaptation and mitigation strategies to climate change. He is an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow since 1999, has served on the National Research Council Board on Environmental Change and Society and the Board of International Science Organizations, and acted as a co-convener of the Great Plains Regional Assessment for the U.S. National Climate Assessment from 2013 to 2014. (970-491-1976; dennis.ojima@colostate.edu)

Dr. Shufen (Susan) Pan has an interdisciplinary educational background with a Ph.D. in ecology, a M.S. degree in economics, and undergraduate training in literature, with more than a decade of work experience in applying environmental sensing (particularly remote sensing), Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and ecological modeling to the research of environmental and climate change. Dr. Pan primary research interest is to use emerging technologies in environmental sensing, GIS, and computer simulation as tools for investigating the impacts of land use, urbanization, and climate change on ecosystem productivity, water resources, food security, and human health. In the past 20 years, She developed and applied these emerging technologies to the understanding and quantification of how multiple global changes in climate, land use/land cover (LU/LC), and atmospheric chemistry have affected carbon and nitrogen cycles, greenhouse gas emissions, and hydrological processes in a range of ecosystems across the globe including boreal and temperate forests in North America and East Asia, tropical forests in the Amazon Basin and Southeast Asia, savannas in Africa, grasslands in United States and Mongolia, urban and croplands in China and United States and at a spectrum of spatial scales that range from watershed to regional to continental to global.

Dr. Wei Ren is an ecosystem ecologist with a background in ecology and agricultural meteorology. Her research focuses on the human-climate-ecosystem interactions in the context of global change, with specific interests in agricultural ecosystems at multiple spatiotemporal scales. Dr. Ren uses an integrated systems approach, which incorporates numerical modeling, RS/GIS, and field observations and measurements. Her current research topics include: (1) regional assessment of food production and the dynamics of carbon, water, and nutrients in response to multiple environmental factors; and (2) climate-smart agricultural practices to enhance food production and water/nutrient use efficiency while reducing water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. (859-257-1953; wei.ren@uky.edu)

Dr. Ge Sun has conducted hydrological research on various ecosystems, from Florida’s cypress swamps in the humid southeastern U.S. to northern China’s Loess Plateau and Mongolian drylands. He served as a leading hydrology expert for the U.S. Forest Service International Program’s Mission in Mexico, Africa, and Asia. His research focuses on regional and national assessments of climate change and vegetation management impacts on forest ecosystem functions and sustainability. Dr. Sun’s research contributes to understanding the interactions among water supply, agricultural water resource management, energy development, and climate adaptation at a broad scale. (919-624-0590; gesun@fs.fed.us)

Dr. Qinxue Wang has been working on developing systems for the observation and evaluation of regional water and material cycles in East Asia. He was worked on number of key research projects, including “Land Use for Global Environmental Conservation (LUGEC)” and “Asia-Pacific Environmental Innovation Strategy Project (APEIS).” He presided over the project “Establishment of Network for Early Detection of the Global Warming Impact,” sponsored by Ministry of Environment of Japan. He is now leading a policy contribution-oriented research project entitled “Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Strategies for Permafrost Regions in Mongolia,” supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund of Japan. (+81-29-850-2128); wangqx@nies.go.jp)

Hongyuan Yu is the author of numerous publications, including most recently Global Warming and China’s Environmental Diplomacy (Nova Science Publishers, 2008). Prof. Yu is exploring the connections between water, energy, food production, and the hard and soft dimensions of their impact on international security and cooperation for China and international community. Prof. Yu works on the food-energy-water nexus caused by climate change and the consequences faced by China and its neighboring countries, and describes China and its neighboring countries’ domestic and international responses to the nexus crisis. (yuhongyuan@siis.org.cn)

Organizer: Hanqin Tian, Alumni and Solon Dixon Professor, Auburn University

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