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YAN Xiaoyuan
Ph. D
Deputy Director of the Institute of Soil Science,CAS
Academic title:
Postal Code:
Subject categories:
Soil Science
Mailing Address:
No.71 East Beijing Road, Nanjing, China


1. Educational background

PhD. 1995/7-1998/12,Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, soil science

MsC. 1992/9-1995/6,Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, soil science

BS. 1988/9-1992/7,Hunan Agricultural University, soil science and plant nutrition


2. Professional experience

Professor, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, (2006/3-present)

Researcher, Frontier Research Institute for Global Change, Japan (2001/3-2006/3)

Postdoctoral fellow, Japan International Institute of Agricultural Sciences (1999/3-2001/3)

Visiting scholar, The Queen’s University of Belfast (1996/1-1996/8)


3. Research achievement

PI of National Key Research and Development Project, Key Project of the National Science and Technology Pillar Program, and several projects supported by National?Natural?Science?Funds. These studies have led to publication of over 170 peer reviewed papers, with over 120 indexed by Web of Science and more than 5600 citations. Authored 3 academic books such as “Methods for Experimental Study of Nitrogen Cycling in Soils”. Winner of National Natural Science Award, Science and Technology Award of Jiangsu Province, Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers, China Agricultural Science and Technology Award.


4. Scientific discoveries

Major study area: carbon and nitrogen cycling in soil, greenhouse gas emission, non-point source pollution。

At watershed scale, I have revealed the characteristics of nitrogen budget in typical rice-based agricultural watershed and its impacts on air and water quality. I found that there is far more reactive nitrogen released the air than to water in rice-based agricultural watershed. By using Bayesian modeling and dual isotope method, we were able apportion the source of nitrogen in river water, and consequentially propose efficient mitigation strategies.

At national scale, I have verified the increasing trend in soil organic carbon (SOC) content in croplands of China. We then collected 1400 random soil profiles from croplands across China and compared their SOC contents with those in the second national soil survey (SNSS) and found that the average SOC content increased by 8.8% since the SNSS. The increase was largely due to the decrease in the area of soils with low SOC content (<5g/kg). Using long-term fertilization experiment, pot experiment and mathematical modeling, we found that, for soils with low SOC content, as long as certain crop yield (biomass) can be achieved, chemical fertilizer application to cropland may increase SOC content because the amount of new organic carbon resulting from crop biomass (including below ground biomass) is larger than the decomposition of origin SOC. Organic fertilizer application may increase SOC content through two additional mechanisms: a) direct legacy of organic carbon, and b) increased root growth resulting from the improvement of soil physical property.

At global scale, I revealed the major factors controlling methane emission from rice paddies with the aid of statistical modeling, and subsequently developed a simple algorithm to estimated national/regional methane emission from rice paddies, which was fully adopted by the IPCC as the Tier 1 method in its Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories both in 2006 and 2019.


Soil biogeochemistry

Nonpoint source pollution

Soil and climate chang


2019,China Agricultural Science and Technology Award

2008,Winner of National Natural Science Award

2008,Japan International Award for Young Agricultural Researchers

2004,Science and Technology Award of Jiangsu Province


1. Wei Zhou, Yuchun Ma, Reinhard Well, Hua Wang, Xiaoyuan Yan*, Denitrification in Shallow Groundwater Below Different Arable Land Systems in a High Nitrogen-Loading Region, Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, 123 (2018) 991-1004.

2. Xiaoyuan Yan*, Hiroko Akiyama, Overestimation of N2O mitigation potential by watermanagement in rice paddy fields, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115 (2018) E11204-E11205.

3. Yongqiu Xia, Dongli She, Wenjuan Zhang, Zhipeng Liu, Yonghong Wu, Xiaoyuan Yan*, Improving Denitrification Models by Including Bacterial and Periphytic Biofilm in a Shallow Water-Sediment System, Water Resources Research, 54 (2018) 8146-8159.

4. Jinyang Wang, Hiroko Akiyama, Kazuyuki Yagi, Xiaoyuan Yan*, Controlling variables and emission factors of methane from global rice fields, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 18 (2018) 10419-10431.

5. Longlong Xia, Shu Kee Lam, Deli Chen, Jinyang Wang, Quan Tang, Xiaoyuan Yan*, Can knowledge-based N management produce more staple grain with lower greenhouse gas emission and reactive nitrogen pollution? A meta-analysis, Global Change Biology, 23 (2017) 1917-1925.

6. Jun Shan, Xu Zhao, Rong Sheng, Yongqiu Xia, Chaopu Ti, Xiaofei Quan, Shuwei Wang, Wenxue Wei, Xiaoyuan Yan*, Dissimilatory Nitrate Reduction Processes in Typical Chinese Paddy Soils: Rates, Relative Contributions, and Influencing Factors, Environmental Science & Technology, 50 (2016) 9972-9980.

7. Yongqiang Zhao, Yongqiu Xia, Chaopu Ti, Jun Shan, Bolun Li, Longlong Xia, Xiaoyuan Yan*, Nitrogen Removal Capacity of the River Network in a High Nitrogen Loading Region, Environmental Science & Technology, 49 (2015) 1427-1435.

8. Xiaoyuan Yan*, Chaopu Ti, Peter Vitousek, Deli Chen, Adrian Leip, Zucong Cai, Zhaoliang Zhu, Fertilizer nitrogen recovery efficiencies in crop production systems of China with and without consideration of the residual effect of nitrogen, Environmental Research Letters, 9 (2014).

Community service:

Secretary general of Soil Science Society of China

Head of Nitrogen Working Group of Soil Science Society of China

Vice president of the Youth Association of Chinese Academy of Sciences

Member of China Association of International Council for Science (ISC-CHINA)

Commitment to research the situation:

1. Mechanisms of Nitrogen and Phosphorus Transportation and Pollution Control between Farmland and Wetland in the Dongting Lake Plain ,U19A2050, funded by NSFC,2020/1-2023/12,PI

2. Mechanisms of transformation and loss control of fertilizer nitrogen in soil, 2017YFD0200100, funded by MOST, 2017/7-2020/12, PI

3. Transport of Contaminants and Nutrients in Soil-Plant-Atmosphere System in Peri-Urban Critical Zone, 41571130062,funded by NSFC, 2016/1-2019/12, PI

4. Nitrogen Cycling, 41425005,funded by NSFC, 2015/1-2019/12, PI

5. Development and demonstration of technologies for carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas mitigation in agricultural system, 2013BAD11B00, funded by MOST, 2013/1-2016/12, PI

6. Denitrification rate and its influencing factors in wetland and rice paddy based on new国methodology, 41071196,funded by NSFC, 2011/1-2013/12, PI