Wenyu Hsiung was born July 9th, 1915 in Chong Qing county of Sichuan Province. He graduated from the Forestry Department of Sichuan University, receiving his Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree in 1940. He remained on the staff as a faculty member after graduation. Four years later, he was promoted to a lecturer. In 1944 he obtained a scholarship and set his heart on pursuing his studies abroad.
He first attended classes at the University of Toronto and then transferred to the College of Forestry of Yale University. He received a master’s degree from Yale University in 1947. In August of that year, he transferred to the University of Minnesota and received a doctorate degree in 1951, and stayed on to continue his research. After his return from overseas in August of 1953, he successively held the posts of vice dean, dean and professor of Forestry Department of Nanjing Forestry College (now called the Nanjing Forestry University). He was a member of the third, fourth and fifth council of the Chinese Society of Forestry; director of Ecological Society of China; member of the third and fourth discipline assessment groups of the academic degree commission of the state council; subeditor of the forestry group of the editorial board of the ministry of forestry; member of the academic committee of environmental ecological center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; advisor of the integrated survey group of the southern part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; member and advisor of the scientific and technological committee of the ministry of forestry; followed by president and honorary president of Jiangsu executive council of ecology.
Since 1978, Wenyu Hsiung was appointed as visiting professor in the College of Forestry of the University of Idaho (USA); invited spokesperson of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth world conferences of IUFRO; visiting professor of University of Edinburgh, University of Aberdeen, University of Oxford, University of Wales, Bangor, Universität Hamburg and Universität Göttingen; Malaysian forestry advisor of United Nations Development Programme. In 1987, he was selected as leader of P5·04 of IUFRO, mainly in charge of the 19th symposium to be held in August of 1990. He has been a teacher for more than 50 years, devoting himself to forestry education, training and mentoring of scientific personnel for bamboo research.
Wenyu Hsiung grew up in an environment of bamboo and has deep affection for bamboo. He was very worried about China’s lack of forest resources. As China has a large area of bamboo forest which is widely distributed with lots of varieties and rich experience in the cultivation and utilization of bamboo, he believed that we can solve the contradiction between the supply and demand of timber and give full play to bamboo resources by strengthening bamboo production and substituting bamboo for wood. Thus, he decided to be engaged in bamboo research, and selected Moso bamboo as his research object. Moso bamboo is the main species of bamboo in China which is fast growing and of high economic value. He spent all his energy in bamboo research, and led his work team to conduct on-the-spot investigations.
In 1958, he published a book called High-yield Moso Bamboo Stands in Shimen of Zhejiang Province. He found if we wanted to enlarge the area of bamboo forests and raise the per unit yield, we would be need to make a systematic study. Therefore, he organized the bamboo research group in Nanjing Forestry College in 1962. In addition, he conducted research on the characteristics of population structure of bamboo forest by using principles of ecology and put forward the measures and research direction of management and administration for bamboo forest. In 1964, he put forward the idea of south bamboo north transplanting and has carried out the introduction of moso bamboo ever since. In 1974, he with Prof. Zhou Fangchun, another bamboo expert, compiled a book called Bamboo Cultivation, which was welcomed by the reading public and reprinted four times successively. In 1978, his two achievements High Yield Moso Bamboo and South Bamboo North Transplanting won The National Science Conference Unit Award.
In 1981, Prof. Hsiung was invited to join the 17th world conference held by IUFRO in Japan. He presented the paper called Study on Intercalary Meristem and internode elongation of Bamboo Plants, and put forward some new points which roused attendants’ interests. In 1986, he was also invited to join the 18th world conference by IUFRO in Yugoslavia. He gave the report on Current Status and Development of Bamboo Research in China which was published in Forestry Research issued by the United Nations. At that conference, he was selected as leader of P5·04 of IUFRO for a term from 1987 to 1990. He compiled Bamboo Bulletin in English, mainly introducing world bamboo production and scientific research trends. In 1987, his name Wenyu Hsiung was listed in the biology volume of Who’s Who in the World by Longman Group Ltd. In 1988, his name was also listed in the Celebrity of Far East and Australia and International Intellects by Cambridge International Autobiography. In order to push bamboo research work forward, Prof. Hsiung and Zhou set up Bamboo Institute in Nanjing Forestry University. Wenyu Hsiung has put a great deal of effort and made a great contribution to bamboo development at home and abroad, in December of 1990, he won the outstanding contribution prize by IUFRO and was known as “Mr. Bamboo” by foreign friends.