A Murdoch University researcher has been presented with China’s Friendship Award – the nation’s highest honour for achievement by a foreigner.
Professor Bernard Dell, who has researched sustainable forestry in China for more than 20 years, received his medal from Vice Premier Ma Kai at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in late September.
“It is very exciting to receive this Friendship Award on the occasion of the 65th Anniversary of new China,” said Professor Dell.
“I look forward to building on our long-term friendships to create new opportunities for other researchers at Murdoch University to further promote research and economic development with China.”
Professor Dell has collaborated with the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF) for over two decades to find ways to increase the sustainable productivity of eucalypt plantations across southern China.
His work has reduced China’s dependence on imported wood fibre, making a difference to the livelihoods of many rural workers and farmers in Southern China.
Professor Dell said the eucalypt research in China had also greatly benefited the eucalypt plantation sector in Australia.
“Some of the Chinese plantations occur in environments that are very similar to Western Australia, with soil and water constraints and so we have the opportunity to share experiences gained in the two regions,” he said.
More recently, Professor Dell has worked to develop strategic research partnerships on food security between academies and universities in China and Murdoch’s scientists with great success.
Professor Dell has been a Visiting Professor at CAF since 2003. He is also a member of the Engineering Technology Committee for the Valuable Tropical Tree Species Cultivation Engineering Technology Research Centre, CAF.
Recipients of the Friendship Award are regarded by the Chinese government as providing outstanding contributions driving economic and social development in the country.
Almost 1400 foreign experts have been given the award since it began in 1991. Professor Dell was one of 100 people from 25 countries who were honoured in 2014.