Ganlin Zhang graduated from Huazhong Agricultural University in 1987, with a Bachelor of Agronomy and obtained his PhD of Soil Science from the Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in 1993. He was promoted as professor of soil science in 2001 and he is now the deputy head of the Department of Soil Resource and Remote Sensing Applications, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
He is the winner of the Distinguished Young Scientist Fund of the National Natural Science Foundaion, and served as the vice-chair of the Commission of Soil Genesis, International Union of Soil Science (C1.3, IUSS) during 2002 and 2006. He is now the vice-chair of the Working Group of Soils of Urban, Industial, Traffic and Mining Areas, IUSS (SUITMA, IUSS), and the chairman-elect of the Commission of Soil Genesis (C1.3, IUSS) for the term 2010-2014. He is also serving the Chair of the Committee of Soil Genesis, Classification and Geography (2004-2012), and is a member of National Soil Standardization Committee of China. He is currently on the editorial board of several famous journals such as Geoderma, Acta Pedologica Sinica and Arid Zone Research
Zhang is the leader of the East Asian Node of Global Soil Mapping Programme, Globalsoilmap.net. His research fields cover soil genesis, soil classification, soil mapping and soil evaluation. He has published more than 140 papers in Chinese and international peer-reviewed journals as the main author or co-author, covering soil genesis, soil classification, soil mapping, soil information system and soil quality evaluation, as well as urban soil and environment. He has also authored a number of books and book chapters. He has won five National or Provincial Science and Technology Awards.