Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2017, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (5): 585-596.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2016.0062

Special Issue: 全球变化与生态系统

• Reviews • Previous Articles    

A review of belowground biomass allocation and its response to global climatic change in grassland ecosystems

Yue YAN1,2,3,*, Jian-Jun ZHU2,3,*, Bin ZHANG2,3,4, Yan-Jie ZHANG1, Shun-Bao LU1,3,**, Qing-Min PAN2,3,**   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Poyang Lake Wetland and Watershed Research, Ministry of Education, Key Laboratory of Protection and Utilization of Subtropic Plant Resources of Jiangxi Province, College of Life Sciences, Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang 330022, China

    2Inner Mongolia Research Center for Prataculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China

    3State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China

    4College of Ecology and Environmental Science, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University, Hohhot 010018, China
  • Online:2017-05-10 Published:2017-06-22
  • Contact: Yue YAN,Jian-Jun ZHU,Shun-Bao LU,Qing-Min PAN
  • About author:

    KANG Jing-yao(1991-), E-mail:


Biomass allocations between aboveground and belowground organs provide pivotal information for connecting aboveground productivity and belowground carbon sequestration. As accurate measurement of belowground biomass is essential for determining the biomass allocation, we first reviewed the methods in quantifying belowground biomass and their merits. We then presented the major advances on plant biomass allocations between aboveground and belowground organs, as well as the potential drivers such as precipitation, warming, atmospheric CO2 concentration, and nitrogen deposition. We finally provided a list of challenges in studying belowground biomass allocation for the future. This review has important implications for studies on carbon cycling in grassland ecosystems under the changing climate.

Key words: root/shoot ratio, belowground biomass, precipitation regime, air temperature, CO2 concentration, nitrogen deposition