Besides her tenure at Peking University, Professor Lü has also taught at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies at Yale University since 2001.
Between 1985 and 1995, Lü Zhi carried out studies of panda in the fields of ecology, social behavior studies, conservation biology, and population genetics.
From 1995 to 2000, she worked for the Species and Protected Areas arm of the World Wide Fund for Nature as director of the China project. Her main responsibility was supporting and promoting the effectiveness of panda reserves.
In 2000, Lü obtained funding from the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies to do research on the global relationships between environment, sustainable development, and human health. She went on to spend a year at Yale University as a visiting scholar.
In 2002, she established the China project with funding from Conservation International (CI), one of the biggest nonprofit environment-protection organizations worldwide.
In 2007, together with co-workers, she founded the Landscape Conservation Center to demonstrate the best practices for harmonious co-existence between nature and humankind in western China.
In 2008, she founded the Peking University Center for Nature and Society, whose emphasis is on environmental policy research and cultivation of leadership skills. The center’s work includes setting up a base of scientific expertise in nature conservation and sustainable development, researching policy issues on China’s conservation, implementing and promoting best practices for conservation in China, carrying out conservation leadership training, and offering conservation education.
Their research projects include: the setup of a biodiversity database and policy support system; conservation biology study on endangered species (giant pandas, white-headed langurs, Chinese white dolphins, Asiatic black bears, kiangs, and Chinese desert cats); monitoring mammals using an infrared triggered camera; rapid assessment of biodiversity in hotspot areas (RAP), wildlife-human conflicts in the Tibet area, and the role of Sacred Lands in biodiversity conservation–the relationship between biodiversity and culture diversity. These projects are distributed among Inner-Mongolia, Qinghai, Tibet, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Yunnan, and Guangxi.
Professor Lü's academic papers, articles and photography appear in such world-class journals as Nature, Science and National Geographic. She has expressed opinions about nature conservation in China in major domestic and overseas media. In 1999, she was named one of the New York Times' Six Chinese Young People to Watch in the Future.