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Location: home > People/Professors

Name: ZHANG, Yili 

Professor of Physical Geography and Biogeography 

Head of Department of Land Science Change and Biogeography 

Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation 

Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR) 

Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)   


Address: Jia 11, Datun Road, Cho-Yang-Qv, Beijing

Postcode: 100101 

Telephone: 0086-10-64856505 (O) 

Email: zhangyl@igsnrr.ac.cn  


http://people.ucas.ac.cn/~0001070?language=en# 266326



Research Areas  

Land Use and Land Cover Change; Plant Geography; Biogeography; Physical Geography 

Research Interests  

Synthesis study of physical geography, the application of remote sensing and GIS to studies on land cover change, land Use and Land Cover Change, Interaction of Impacts of Environment Factor and Land Cover Change, Floristic Geography, Plant Geography, Bio-diversity. 


M.S.    1987 Bio-diversity and Plant Geography, Beijing Normal University, China 

B.S.    1984 Biology, Department of Biology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China 


Work Experience 

Head, Department of Land Science Change and Biogeography, IGSNRR of CAS since 2014 

Deputy Director, the Division of Physical Geography and Global Change IGSNRR of CAS from 2008 to 2014 

Head, Department of Land-use & Land-cover Change and Land Resources Research (LUCCR) of IGSNRR of CAS from 1999 to 2014 

Professor of Biogeography and Physical Geography, IGSNRR of CAS since 1999 

From 1987 to 1999, Appointed to Department of Physical Geography at the Institute of Geography of CAS as Assistant Professor in Physical Geography in 1987, Associate Professor from 1993 to 1999, Professor since 1999. (Visiting Scholar of the Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences in 1992. Visiting Professor of the Faculty of Geography of Marburg University, Germany from 1997 to 1998.)  

Teaching Experience 

Professor of Physical Geography, Graduate University of the CAS from 2001 to 2012 

Professor of Physical Geography, University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS) since 2012. 


Plant Geography 

Change of Ecology System and Environment on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Progress in Tibetan Plateau Research 

Honors & Distinctions  

2018, Honorary Life Membership of Nepal Geographical Society

2016, Annual Excellent Paper Award of Scientific and Technical Journal of China, the China Association for Science and Technology

2014, 6th “Outstanding S&T Worker of China”, the China Association for Science and Technology 

2014, 2nd “Geographic Outstanding S&T Worker of China”, the Geographical Society of China 

2012, Progressive Science and Technology Award of Ministry of Environmental Protection, P.R. China 

2011, Annual Excellent Paper Award of Natural Science of Qinghai, the Qinghai Province of China

2010, Progressive Science and Technology Award of Xizang Autonomous Region, China  

2005, Natural Sciences Award of China 


Executive Member of the Council (2018-2023), Member of the council (2008-2018) of Geographical Society of China (GSC), Chairman of Physical Geography Committee of GSC from 2004 to 2019, Deputy Chairman of Youth Geographer Committee of GSC from 1999 to 2004, Member of Mountain Research Committee of GSC since 1999 

Executive Member of the Council, Deputy Secretary-General, the China Society of Tibet Plateau since 2008 

Secretary general of Group of Land Change Science of the CNC-IGBP and CNC-IHDP since 2005, Secretary general of Land-use and Land-cover Change Committee of the CNC-IGBP from 2002 to 2005 

Member of the Council, the China Society of Natural Resources from 2014 to 2019 

Member of China Council of the WCRP/CliC and IUGG/IACS since 2008 

Editorial Board Member, Journal of Global Change Data & Discovery since 2017 

Editorial Board Member, Acta Geographica Sinica since 2015 

Editorial Board Member, Journal of Mountain Sciences from 2010 to 2014 

Editorial Board Member, Geographical Research from 2002 to 2014 

Editorial Board Member, Progress in Geography from 2002 to 2014 

Major Research Projects: 

[1]     Change and Adaptation on Land cover and soil erosion in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (the Strategic Priority Research Program (A) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)2018~2023)

[2]     Land use and land cover change effect on ecosystem services in Koshi River Basin (NSFC-ICIMOD, 2018~2020)

[3]     Land use and land cover change processes and its regional difference in a trans-boundary basin of the middle Himalaya (National Natural Science Foundation of China(NSFC), 2014~2017) 

[4]     Environmental effects of ecological constructions for safety shield on Tibetan Plateau (the Strategic Priority Programme (B) of CAS, 2012~2017) 

[5]     Adaptation strategy of environmental changes on Tibetan Plateau (National Basic Research Program of China(NBRPC), 2005~2010) 

[6]     Technique research for conversation, restoration and management on wetland in Lhasa River basin (Key Technologies R&D Program of China, 2007~2010) 

[7]     Scientific Assessment of environmental effects of Qinghai-Tibet railway (NSFC, 2003~2005) 

[8]     Land-use and land-cover change and rehabilitation of degraded environment in specific regions of Tibetan Plateau (NBRPC, 1998~2003) 

Selected Publications  

Selected Books

[1]     Deng Wei, Zhang Yili. 2014. Resources, Environment and Development of Koshi River Basin. Chengdu: Science and Technology of Sichuan Press.(in Chinese and English) 

[2]     Zhang Yili (ed.).2012. Land Use & Land Cover Change and the Climate Change Adaptation in Tibetan Plateau. Beijing: China Meterological Press.  

[3]     Zheng Du, Zhang Yili, et al. 2009. Ecological and Environmental Security along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Hangzhou: Zhejiang Science and Technology Publishing House.(in Chinese with English Abstract) .

[4]     Mihe, Georg and Zhang Yili (eds.).2000. Environmental Changes in High Asia. Marburg/Lahn: Marbuger Geographische Schriften. (in English with Chinese Abstract) .

Book Chapters 

[1]     Zhang Yili, Wang Xiuhong, Liu Qionghuan, Wu Xue, Zhang Binghua, Li Lanhui, Zhang Minhua, Xie Fangdi. 2018. Ecological environment of faming-pastoral ecotone over the Belt and Road. In Wang Qian et al. 2018 Global Ecosystems and Environment Observation Analysis and Cooperation: Regional Ecosystem Trends along the Belt and Road. National Remote Sensing Center of China, Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China (MOST), p3-8. (Published by the MOST in Chinese and English at 16 November of 2018. http://www.chinageoss.org/geoarc/2018/B/index.html.)

[2]     Zhang Yili, Cheng Shengkui, Bai Wanqi, Xu Zhengrang, Wu Xue, Zhao Zhilong, Lu Chunxia, Hua Xiaobo, Luo Lei and Zhang Hua. 2014. Land System Change and Regional Development Strategy the Tibetan Plateau. In China Society on Tibet Plateau (edited), Report on Advances in Tibetan Plateau Research 2012-2013. Beijing: Science and Technology of China Press, p240-266,278-279.(in Chinese with English Abstract)  

[3]     Zhang Yili, Ding Mingjun, Wang Li, Xie Gaodi, Xv Baiqing, Wu Yingying, Lu Chunxia, Xiao Yu and Zhen Lin. 2010. Resources, Environment and Regional Sustainable Development of the Tibetan Plateau. In China Society on Tibet Plateau (ed.), Report on Advances in Tibetan Plateau Research. Beijing: Science and Technology of China Press, p161-191.(in Chinese with English Abstract)  

[4]     Zhang Yili, Zhu Huiyi, Wang Xiuhong, Ding Mingjun, Yang Xuchao, Xu Xuegong, Li Shuangcheng, Yan Lei, Wang Jun and Duan Xiaofeng. 2008. Physical Geography. In Cai Yunlong (ed.), Recent Progress of Geography in China--A Perspective in 21st Century. Beijing: The Commercial Press, p46-91.  

[5]     Zhang Yili, Zheng Du, Liu Xiaodong, Zhao Xinyi, Zhang Xueqin, Wang Ninglian, Zhao Lin, Xie Gaodi, Li Shuangcheng, Li Lifeng, Bai Wanqi, Bao Weikai, Shen Zhenxi, Tang Ya, Liu Shiyin, Pu Jianchen, Chu Duo, Lu Chunxia, Xiao Yu and Huang Chengmin. 2004. Region ecosystem and environment change on the plateau. In: Zheng Du et al. Uplifting of Tibetan Plateau with Its Environmental Effects. Beijing: Science Press, p459-554. (in Chinese with English abstract)  

Selected Papers

[1]     Zhang Yili, Liu Linshan, Wang Zhaofeng, et al. 2019. Spatial and temporal characteristics of land use and cover changes in the Tibetan Plateau. Chin Sci Bull, 64. doi: 10.1360/TB-2019-0046 (in Chinese with English abstract)

[2]     Basanta Paudel, Yili Zhang*, Jianzhong Yan, et al. 2019. Farmers' perceptions of agricultural land use changes in Nepal and their major drivers. Journal of Environmental Management, 235:432-441.

[3]     Lanhui Li, Yili Zhang*, Jianshuang Wu, et al. 2019. Increasing sensitivity of alpine grasslands to climate variability along an elevational gradient on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Science of the Total Environment, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.04.399.

[4]     Lanhui Li, Yili Zhang*, Wei Qi, Zhaofeng Wang, Yaojie Liu and Mingjun Ding. 2019. No significant shift of warming trend over the last two decades on the roof of the world. Atmosphere, 10, 416.

[5]     Liu Qionghuan, *Zhang Yili, Liu Linshan, et al. 2019. Spatial Local Accuracy Analysis of Land Cover Datasets in Qiangtang Plateau, High Asia. Journal of Geographical Sciences (J Geogr Sci), 29(11): 1841-1858.

[6]     Mohan K Rai, Basanta Paudel, Yili Zhang*, et al. 2019. Vegetables Farming and Farmers’ Livelihood: Insights from Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Sustainability, 11:889.

[7]     Qionghuan Liu, Xiuhong Wang, Yili Zhang*, et al. 2019. Vegetation Degradation and Its Driving Factors in the Farming–Pastoral Ecotone over the Silk Road Economic Belt. Sustainability, 11:1590.

[8]     Wang Xiuhong, Zhang Yili. 2019. Emergy-based evaluation of changes in agrochemical residues on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China. Sustainability, 11, 3652.

[9]     Xiuhong Wang, Yili Zhang*. 2019. Carbon footprint of agricultural sector in Qinghai province, China. Appl. Sci., 9: 2047.

[10]   Basanta Paudel, *Zhang Yili, Wu Xue, et al. 2018. Spatiotemporal changes in Nepal over the last 100 years. J Geogr Sci, 27(10):1519-1539.

[11]   Cholhyok Kang, Yili Zhang*, Basanta Paudel, et al. 2018. Exploring the Factors Driving Changes in Farmland within the Tumen (Tuman) River Basin. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 7, 352.

[12]   Lanhui Li, Yili Zhang*, Linshan Liu, et al. 2018. Spatiotemporal Patterns of Vegetation Greenness Change and Associated Climatic and Anthropogenic Drivers on the Tibetan Plateau during 2000–2015. Remote Sensing, 10, 1525.

[13]   Li Lanhui, *Zhang Yili, Liu Linshan, et al. 2018. Current Challenges in Distinguishing Climatic and Anthropogenic Contributions to Alpine Grassland Variation on the Tibetan Plateau. Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.4099.

[14]   Li Lanhui, *Zhang Yili, Liu Qionghuan, et al. 2018. Regional differences in shifts of temperature trends across China between 1980 and 2017. International Journal of Climatology. DOI: 10.1002/joc.5868.

[15]   Partho Protim Mondal and Yili Zhang*. 2018. Research Progress on Changes in Land Use and Land Cover in the Western Himalayas (India) and Effects on Ecosystem Services. Sustainability, 10, 4504.

[16]   Raju Rai, Yili Zhang*, Basanta Paudel, et al. 2018. Land Use and Land Cover Dynamics and Assessing the Value of Ecosystem Services in the Trans-boundary Gandaki River Basin, Central Himalayas. Sustainability, 10, 3052.

[17]   Yong Nie, Qiao Liu, JidaWang, Yili Zhang, et al. 2018. An inventory of historical glacial lake outburst floods in the Himalayas based on remote sensing observations and geomorphological analysis. Geomorphology, 308:91-106.

[18]   Zhilong Zhao, Yili Zhang, Linshan Liu, et al. 2018. The Impact of Drought Variability on Vegetation Conditions within the Damqu River Basin, Yangtze River Source Region, China. PLoS ONE, 13(8): e0202966. https:// doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202966.

[19]   Zhang Yili, Li Lanhui, Ding Mingjun, Zheng Du. 2017. Greening of the Tibetan Plateau and its drivers since 2000. Chinese Journal of Nature, 39(3):173-179. (in Chinese with English abstract). 

[20]   Basanta Paudel, *Zhang Yili, Li Shicheng, Wu Xue. 2017. Spatiotemporal reconstruction of cropland cover in Nepal from 1970 to 2010. Regional Environmental Change. DOI 10.1007/s10113-017-1164-y.

[21]   Haibin Yu, Yili Zhang*, Zhaofeng Wang, et al. 2017. Diverse range dynamics and dispersal routes of plants on the Tibetan Plateau during the late Quaternary. PLOS ONE,12(5): e0177101. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0177101.

[22]   Li Shicheng, Wang Zhaofeng, *Zhang Yili. 2017. Crop cover reconstruction and its effects on sediment retention in the Tibetan Plateau for 1900–2000. J Geogr Sci, 27(7):786-800.

[23]   Xiaobo Hua, Jianzhong Yan, Yili Zhang. 2017. Evaluating the role of livelihood assets in suitable livelihood strategies: Protocol for anti-poverty policy in the Eastern Tibetan Plateau, China. Ecological Indicators, 78: 62–74.

[24]   Wu Xue, Gao Jungang, *Zhang Yili, et al. 2017. Land cover status in Koshi River Basin, Central Himalayas. Journal of Resources and Ecology (JRE), 8(1): 10–19.

[25]   Zhao Zhilong, Wu Xue, *Zhang Yili, et al. 2017. Assessment of changes in the value of ecosystem services in the Koshi River Basin, central high Himalayas based on land cover changes and the CA-Markov model. JRE, 8(1):67-76.

[26]   Liu Linshan, Zhao Zhilong, *Zhang Yili, Wu Xue. 2017. Using MaxEnt Model to Predict Suitable Habitat Changes for Key Protected Species in Koshi Basin, Central Himalayas. JRE, 8(1): 77-87.

[27]   Li Lanhui, Liu Linshan, Zhang Yili, et al. 2017. Elevation-dependent alpine grassland phenology on the Tibetan Plateau. Geographical Research, 36(1):26-36.(in Chinese with English abstract).

[28]   Zhang Yili, Hu Zhongjun, Qi Wei, et al. 2016. Assessment of effectiveness of nature reserves on the Tibetan Plateau based on net primary production and the large sample comparison method. J Geogr Sci, 26(1):27-44.

[29]   Basanta Paudel, Gao Jungang, *Zhang Yili, et al. 2016. Changes in Cropland Status and Their Driving Factors in the Koshi River Basin of the Central Himalayas, Nepal. Sustainability, 8(933).

[30]   Basanta Paudel, *Zhang Yili, Li Shicheng, et al. 2016. Review of studies on land use and land cover change in Nepal. Journal of Mountain Science (JMS), 13(4):643-660.

[31]   Ding Mingjun, Li Lanhui, Nie Yong, Chen Qian, *Zhang Yili. 2016. Spatio-Temporal Variation of Spring Phenology in Tibetan Plateau and its Linkage to Climate Change from 1982 to 2012. JMS, 13(1): 83-94.

[32]   Zhang Hua, Zhang Yili, Wang Zhaofeng, et al. 2016. Traffic-related metal (loid) status and uptake by dominant plants growing naturally in roadside soils in the Tibetan plateau, China. Science of the Total Environment, 573:915-923.

[33]   Li Shichang, Wang Zhaofeng, *Zhang Yili, et al. 2016. Comparison of Socioeconomic Factors between Surrounding and Non-Surrounding Areas of the Qinghai–Tibet Railway before and after Its Construction. Sustainability, 8(776):1-17.

[34]   Gao Jungang, Wu Xue, *Zhang Yili, et al. 2016. Ecological function regionalization in the lower Jinsha River Basin using analytic hierarchy process method. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 36(1):134-147. (in Chinese with English abstract).

[35]   Qi Wei, Bai Wanqi, *Zhang Yili, et al. 2016. Effects of ecological engineering on net primary production in the Chang Tang and Sanjiangyuan national nature reserves on the Tibetan Plateau. Biodiversity Science, (02):127-135. (in Chinese with English abstract).

[36]   Ding Mingjun, Li Lanhui, *Zhang Yili , et al. 2015. Start of vegetation growing season on the Tibetan Plateau inferred from multiple methods based on GIMMS and SPOT NDVI data. J Geogr Sci, 25(2): 131-148.

[37]   Haibin Yu, Yili Zhang*, Linshan Liu, et al. 2015. Combining the least cost path method with population genetic data and species distribution models to identify landscape connectivity during the late Quaternary in Himalayan hemlock. Ecology and Evolution, 5781-5791. 

[38]   Hua Zhang, Zhaofeng Wang, Yili Zhang*, et al. 2015. Identification of traffic-related metals and the effects of different environments on their enrichment in roadside soils along the Qinghai–Tibet highway. Science of Total Environment, 521–522:160–172. 

[39]   Zhang Yili, Qi Wei, Zhou Caiping, et al. 2014. Spatial and temporal variability in the net primary production of alpine grassland on the Tibetan Plateau since 1982. J Geogr Sci, 23(2): 269-287. 

[40]   Jungang Gao, Yili Zhang*, Linshan Liu, et al. 2014. Climate change as the major driver of alpine grasslands expansion and contraction: a case study in the Mt. Qomolangma (Everest) National Nature Preserve, the southern Tibetan Plateau. Quaternary International, 336:108-116. 

[41]   Yili Zhang, Jungang Gao, Linshan Liu, et al. 2013. NDVI-based vegetation changes and their responses to climate change from 1982 to 2011: A case study in the Koshi River Basin in the middle Himalayas. Global and Planetary Change, 108: 139-148. 

[42]   Ding Mingjun, *Zhang Yili, Sun Xiaomin, et al. 2013. Spatiotemporal variation in alpine grassland phenology in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau from 1999 to 2009. Chin Sci Bull, 58(3):396-405. 

[43]   Zhang Yili, Wang Zhaofeng, Wang Xiuhong, et al. 2013. Land cover changes in the key regions and self-reflection on ecological construction of the Tibetan Plateau. Chinese Journal of Nature, 35(3):187-192. (in Chinese with English abstract).  

[44]   Sun Honglie, Zheng Du, Yao Tandong, Zhang Yili. 2012. Protection and Construction of the National Ecological Security Shelter Zone on Tibetan Plateau. Acta Geographica Sinica, 67(1):3-12.(in Chinese with English abstract).  

[45]   Hua Zhang, Zhaofeng Wang, Yili Zhang*, et al. 2012. The effects of the Qinghai–Tibet railway on heavy metals enrichment in soils. Science of the Total Environment, 439: 240–248. 

[46]   Bai Wanqi, *Zhang Yili, Liu Linshan, et al. 2012. Adaptation of Tibetan Nomadism to Climate Change in the Source Region of the Yellow River. Journal of Natural Resources, 27(12):2030-2038. (in Chinese with English abstract).

[47]   Zhang Jiping, *Zhang Yili, Liu Linshan1, et al.2011. Predicting Potential Distribution of Tibetan Spruce (Picea smithiana) in Qomolangma (Mount Everest) National Nature Preserve Using Maximum Entropy Niche-based Model. Chin Geogra Sci, 21(4): 417–426. 

[48]   Zhang Yili, Wang Chunlian, Bai Wanqi, et al. 2010. Alpine wetland in Lhasa river basin, China. J Geogr Sci, 20(3):375-388. 

[49]   Yang Xuchao, *Zhang Yili, Liu Linshan, et al. 2009. Sensitivity of surface air temperature change to land use/cover types in China. Science in China (D), 52(8): 1207-1215. 

[50]   Zhang Liping, *Zhang Yili, Yan Jianzhong, et al.2008. Livelihood diversification and cropland use pattern in agro-pastoral mountainous region of eastern Tibetan Plateau. J Geogr Sci, 18: 499-509. 

[51]   Yili Zhang, Zhaofeng Wang, Kunli Luo, et al. 2007. The spatial distribution of trace elements in topsoil from the northern slope of Qomolangma (Everest) in China. Environmental Geology, 52(4):679-684. 

[52]   Ding Mingjun, *Zhang Yili, Shen Zhenxi, et al. 2006. Land cover change along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway and Railway from 1981 to 2001. J Geogr Sci, 16 (4): 387-395. 

[53]   Yan Jianzhong, *Zhang Yili , et al. 2005. Land Cover Changes Based on Plant Successions: Deforestation, Rehabilitation and Degeneration of Forest in the Upper Dadu River Watershed. Science in China (D), 48(12): 2214-2230. 

[54]   Zhang Yili, Yan Jianzhong, Liu Linshan, et al. 2002. Effects of Qinghai-Xizang Highway on Land use and Landscape pattern Change--from Golmud to Tangulashan Pass. Acta Geographica Sinica, 57(3): 253-266. (in Chinese with English abstract).  

[55]   Zhang Yili, Li Bingyuan and Zheng Du. 2002. A Discussion on the Boundary and Area of the Tibetan Plateau in China. Geographical Research, 21(1):1-10. (in Chinese with English abstract).

[56]   Xie Gaodi, Zhang Yili, Lu Chunxia, et al. 2001. Study on valuation of rangeland ecosystem services of China. Journal of Natural Resources, 16(1):47-53. (in Chinese with English abstract).

[57]   Zhang Yili, Li Xiubin, Fu Xiaofeng, et al. 2000. Urban Land Use Change in Lhasa. Acta Geographica Sinica, 55(4):395-406 (in Chinese with English abstract) .

Updated on August 29, 2019

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