Soil inorganic carbon stock in the Tibetan alpine grasslands

  • Yang Y
  • Fang J
  • Ji C
 et al. 
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Abstract

As the largest carbon pool in the terrestrial biosphere, soil carbon
stock consists of organic and inorganic components. However, previous
studies dominantly concentrated on soil organic carbon (SOC) stock, and
little is known about the magnitude and patterns of soil inorganic
carbon (SIC). In this study, we evaluated the magnitude of SIC stock in
the Tibetan alpine grasslands using data from 405 profiles surveyed from
135 sites across the plateau during 2001-2004. Kriging interpolation was
conducted to interpolate site-level observations to the regional level.
We also compared spatial and vertical distributions of SIC stock with
the corresponding patterns of SOC stock in the Tibetan alpine
grasslands. Our results showed that SIC stock in the top 1 meter in the
Tibetan alpine grasslands was approximately 15.2 Pg C (1 Pg = 10(15) g),
with an average density (amount per area) of 13.46 kg C m(-2). SIC
density exhibited different spatial and vertical distributions in
comparison with SOC density. Spatially, SIC density in the alpine steppe
was larger than that in the alpine meadow, in contrast to SOC
distribution. Vertically, SIC stock in the upper 30 and 50 cm accounted
for 47.6% and 71.6%, respectively, of that in the upper 1 meter, with
lower proportions than that of SOC stock in the same interval (67.8%
and 83.3%). In total, SIC stock in the Tibetan alpine grasslands was
about 2.1 times the corresponding SOC stock, accounting for 28.5% of
the total SIC stock in China. These results highlight that SIC stock in
the Tibetan grasslands could make a significant contribution to China's
terrestrial carbon balance.

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Authors

  • Yuanhe Yang

  • Jingyun Fang

  • Chengjun Ji

  • Wenhong Ma

  • Shenshen Su

  • Zhiyao Tang

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