Li Ying-Chen, who was born in 1902 in Yongcheng, Henan province, received his bachelor of science from Southeastern University in 1927. Li enrolled at the University of Minnesota the next year, and received both his master of science and doctorate degrees in forestry in 1937.
Upon returning to China after graduation, Li taught and served as dean at Sun Yat-Sen University, Henan University, Sichuan University, and Beijing University successively. Later, Li taught at Sichuan Agricultural University and served as dean of the forestry department. In addition, Li served on the boards for the Chinese Society of Forestry, Sichuan Society of Forestry, and Sichuan Society of Ecology. Li was elected to be a representative of the 4th National People’s Political Consultative Conference.