J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2009, Vol. 51 ›› Issue (5): 521-526.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2009.00813.x

Special Issue: Ecology and Global Changes

• Molecular Ecology and Evolution • Previous Articles    

Carbon Balance in an Alpine Steppe in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Zhi-Yong Pei1, Hua Ouyang2, Cai-Ping Zhou2* and Xing-Liang Xu2   

  1. 1 The Administrative Center for China's Agenda 21, Beijing 100038, China
    2 Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modelling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2008-09-25 Accepted:2008-11-20 Published:2009-05-01
  • About author:
    *Author for correspondence. Tel: +86 10 6488 9813; Fax: +86 10 6488 9813; E-mail: zhoucp@igsnrr.ac.cn


Carbon fluxes were measured using a static chamber technique in an alpine steppe in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau from July 2000 to July 2001. It was shown that carbon emissions decreased in autumn and increased in spring of the next year, with higher values in growth seasons than in winters. An exponential correlation (Ecarbon = 0.22(exp(0.09T) + ln(0.31P + 1)), R2 = 0.77, P < 0.001) was shown between carbon emissions and environmental factors such as temperature (T) and precipitation (P). Using the daily temperature ((T) and total precipitation (R), annual carbon emission from soil to the atmosphere was estimated to be 79.6 g C/m2, 46% of which was emitted by microbial respiration. Considering an average net primary production of 92.5 g C/m2 per year within the 2 year experiment, alpine steppes can take up 55.9 g CO2-C/m2 per year. This indicates that alpine steppes are a distinct carbon sink, although this carbon reservoir was quite small.

Pei ZY, Ouyang H, Zhou CP, Xu XL (2009). Carbon balance in an alpine steppe in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 51(5), 521-526.

Key words: alpine grassland, carbon balance, carbon flux, net primary productivity, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

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