Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2016, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (4): 364-373.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0235

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Carbon storage, spatial distribution and the influence factors in Tianshan forests

Wen-Qiang XU1,*(), Liao YANG1, Xi CHEN1, Ya-Qi GAO2, Lei WANG2   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ürümqi 830011, China
    2Research Institute of Modern Forestry, Xinjiang Academy of Forestry, Ürümqi 830063, China
  • Received:2015-06-21 Accepted:2015-11-27 Online:2016-04-29 Published:2016-04-30
  • Contact: Wen-Qiang XU


Accurate estimation of carbon density and storage is among the key challenges in evaluating ecosystem carbon sink potentials for reducing atmospheric CO2 concentration. It is also important for developing future conservation strategies and sustainable practices. Our objectives were to estimate the ecosystem carbon density and storage of Picea schrenkiana forests in Tianshan region of Xinjiang, and to analyze the spatial distribution and influencing factors.
Based on field measurements, the forest resource inventories, and laboratory analyses, we studied the carbon storage, its spatial distribution, and the potential influencing factors in Picea schrenkiana forest of Tianshan. Field surveys of 70 sites, with 800 m2 (28.3 m × 28.3 m) for plot size, was conducted in 2011 for quantifying arbor biomass (leaf, branch, trunk and root), grass and litterfall biomass, soil bulk density, and other laboratory analyses of vegetation carbon content, soil organic carbon content, etc.
Important findings
The carbon content of the leaf, branch, trunk and root of Picea schrenkiana is varied from 46.56% to 52.22%. The vegetation carbon content of arbor and the herbatious/litterfall layer was 49% and 42%, respectively. The forest biomass of Picea schrenkiana was 187.98 Mg·hm-2, with 98.93% found in the arbor layer. The biomass in all layers was in the order of trunk (109.81 Mg·hm-2) > root (39.79 Mg·hm-2) > branch (23.62 Mg·hm-2) > leaf (12.76 Mg·hm-2). From the age-group point of view, the highest and the lowest biomass was found at the mature forest (228.74 Mg·hm-2) and young forest (146.77 Mg·hm-2), respectively. The carbon density and storage were 544.57 Mg·hm-2 and 290.84 Tg C, with vegetation portion of 92.57 Mg·hm-2 and 53.14 Tg C, and soil portion of 452.00 Mg·hm-2 and 237.70 Tg C, respectively. The spatial distribution of carbon density and storage appeared higher in the western areas than those in the eastern regions. In the western Tianshan Mountains (e.g., Ili district), carbon density was the highest, whereas the central Tianshan Mountains (e.g., Manas County, Fukang City, Qitai County) also had high carbon density. In the eastern Tianshan Mountains (e.g., Hami City), it was low. This distribution seemed consistent with the changes in environmental conditions. The primary causes of carbon density difference might be a combined effects of multiple environmental factors such as terrain, precipitation, temperature, and soil.

Key words: biomass, carbon content, carbon density, environmental factors, sampling plots, Picea schrenkiana