Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2021, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (5): 496-506.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2020.0180

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Linkages of aboveground plant carbon accumulation rate with ecosystem multifunctionality in alpine grassland, Qingzang Plateau

SUN Jian1,*(), WANG Yi1,2, LIU Guo-Hua3   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Observation and Simulation of Ecological Networks, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    2College of Earth Sciences, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu 610059, China
    3State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
  • Received:2020-06-05 Accepted:2020-08-10 Online:2021-05-20 Published:2020-10-16
  • Contact: SUN Jian


Aims As one of the major terrestrial ecosystems of the world, a small fluctuation of grassland soil carbon (C) would affect the carbon cycle of the terrestrial ecosystem and ecosystem multifunctionlity (EMF). The carbon accumulation rate (CAR) of aboveground community well reflects the capacity and efficiency of carbon sequestration in a field from the start to the peak of a growing season. The changes in plant CAR could influence the ability of above- and below-ground community. Currently, the majority of studies have primarily focused on the relationship between community diversity and EMF, while the linkages of CAR with EMF were understudied. We aimed to explore the process and underlying mechanism of how CAR affecting EMF in alpine grassland community. Our results would improve the understanding of EMF maintenance mechanism and provide theoretical support for alpine ecosystem management.
Methods We conducted a field transect survey which consists of a total of 115 sample sites of alpine grasslands on the Qingzang Plateau from July to August 2015. The ecosystem multifunctionality index (M) was calculated from 13 key ecosystem parameters including soil organic carbon content, total nitrogen content, total phosphorus content above- and belowground biomass etc. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI, 1982-2013) was adopted to obtain the phenology in 2015. We calculated the CAR value. To explore the underlying mechanism of how CAR affecting EMF, the annual total precipitation and temperature were extracted by the method of thin disk smooth spline interpolation based on observations of meteorological stations from 2011-2015.
Important findings Belowground biomass, soil organic carbon content, total phosphorus content and microbial biomass carbon content had high weighting for CAR (0.58, 0.80, 0.83 and 0.79) and M (1.05, 0.98, 1.02 and 0.97). There was a significantly positive correlation between CAR and M (R2 = 0.45, p < 0.01). Our findings suggested that the synergism of plant community and soil elements affected CAR and further regulated EMF under the influences of precipitation and temperature.

Key words: ecosystem multifunctionlity, carbon accumulation rate, alpine grassland, soil organic carbon, Qingzang Plateau