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Carbon Sequestration in Two Alpine Soils on the Tibetan Plateau

Authors

  • Yu-Qiang Tian,

    1. College of Resources Science & Technology, State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, 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
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  • Xing-Liang Xu,

    1. Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modelling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
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  • Ming-Hua Song,

    1. Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modelling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
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  • Cai-Ping Zhou,

    1. Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modelling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
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  • Qiong Gao,

    1. College of Resources Science & Technology, State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
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  • Hua Ouyang

    Corresponding author
    1. Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modelling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
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  • Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30590384), State Key Basic Research and Development Plan of China (2005CB422005), Key Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZCX3-SW-339-04) and Open Fund of State Key Laboratory of ESPRE, Beijing Normal University (08-KF-04, 070401).

*Author for correspondence.
Tel: +86 10 6488 9697;
Fax: +86 10 6488 9813;
E-mail: <ohua@igsnrr.ac.cn>.

Abstract

Soil carbon sequestration was estimated in a conifer forest and an alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau using a carbon-14 radioactive label provided by thermonuclear weapon tests (known as bomb-14C). Soil organic matter was physically separated into light and heavy fractions. The concentration spike of bomb-14C occurred at a soil depth of 4 cm in both the forest soil and the alpine meadow soil. Based on the depth of the bomb-14C spike, the carbon sequestration rate was determined to be 38.5 g C/m2 per year for the forest soil and 27.1 g C/m2 per year for the alpine meadow soil. Considering that more than 60% of soil organic carbon (SOC) is stored in the heavy fraction and the large area of alpine forests and meadows on the Tibetan Plateau, these alpine ecosystems might partially contribute to “the missing carbon sink”.

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