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Sci China Life Sci. 2010 Jul;53(7):757-65. doi: 10.1007/s11427-010-4029-x. Epub 2010 Aug 10.

Ecosystem carbon stocks and their changes in China's grasslands.

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Department of Ecology, Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, College of Urban and Environmental Science, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.


The knowledge of carbon (C) stock and its dynamics is crucial for understanding the role of grassland ecosystems in China's terrestrial C cycle. To date, a comprehensive assessment on C balance in China's grasslands is still lacking. By reviewing published literature, this study aims to evaluate ecosystem C stocks (both vegetation biomass and soil organic C) and their changes in China's grasslands. Our results are summarized as follows: (1) biomass C density (C stock per area) of China's grasslands differed greatly among previous studies, ranging from 215.8 to 348.1 g C m(-2) with an average of 300.2 g C m(-2). Likewise, soil C density also varied greatly between 8.5 and 15.1 kg C m(-2). In total, ecosystem C stock in China's grasslands was estimated at 29.1 Pg C. (2) Both the magnitude and direction of ecosystem C changes in China's grasslands differed greatly among previous studies. According to recent reports, neither biomass nor soil C stock in China's grasslands showed a significant change during the past 20 years, indicating that grassland ecosystems are C neutral. (3) Spatial patterns and temporal dynamics of grassland biomass were closely correlated with precipitation, while changes in soil C stocks exhibited close associations with soil moisture and soil texture. Human activities, such as livestock grazing and fencing could also affect ecosystem C dynamics in China's grasslands.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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