Climatic and topographical factors affecting the vegetative carbon stock of rangelands in arid and semiarid regions of China

Journal of Resources and Ecology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Rangeland systems play an important role in ecological stabilization and the terrestrial carbon cycle in arid and semiarid regions. However, little is known about the vegetative carbon dynamics and climatic and topographical factors that affect vegetative carbon stock in these rangelands. Our goal was to assess vegetative carbon stock by examining meteorological data in conjunction with NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) time series datasets from 2001–2012. An improved CASA (Carnegie Ames Stanford Approach) model was then applied to simulate the spatiotemporal dynamic variation of vegetative carbon stock, and analyze its response to climatic and topographical factors. We estimated the vegetative carbon stock of rangeland in Gansu province, China to be 4.4× 1014 gC, increasing linearly at an annual rate of 9.8×1011 gC. The mean vegetative carbon density of the whole rangeland was 136.5 gC m-2. Vegetative carbon density and total carbon varied temporally and spatially and were highly associated with temperature, precipitation and solar radiation. Vegetative carbon density reached the maximal value on elevation at 2500–3500 m, a slope of >30°and easterly aspect. The effect of precipitation, temperature and solar radiation on the vegetative carbon density of five rangeland types (desert and salinized meadow, steppe, alpine meadow, shrub and tussock, and marginal grassland in the forest) depends on the acquired quantity of water and heat for rangeland plants at all spatial scales. The results of this study provide new evidence for explaining spatiotemporal heterogeneity in vegetative carbon dynamics and responses to global change for rangeland vegetative carbon stock, and offer a theoretical and practical basis for grassland agriculture management in arid and semiarid regions.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Climatic and topographical factors affecting the vegetative carbon stock of rangelands in arid and semiarid regions of China
Series title Journal of Resources and Ecology
DOI 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2016.06.002
Volume 7
Issue 6
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 12 p.
First page 418
Last page 429
Country China
State Gansu