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Estimates of carbon storage in grassland ecosystems on the Loess Plateau

Wang, Yinyin, Deng, Lei, Wu, Gaolin, Wang, Kaibo, Shangguan, Zhouping
Catena 2018 v.164 pp. 23-31
aboveground biomass, air temperature, belowground biomass, carbon, carbon sequestration, ecosystems, evapotranspiration, forest steppe, grasses, microbial activity, regression analysis, semiarid zones, soil, surface temperature, trees, vegetation index, China
Grassland ecosystems play an important role in the carbon (C) balance of arid and semi–arid regions. These ecosystems provide C for grass growth and soil microbial activities and represent one of the main sources of atmospheric C. In this study, we estimated the C density and storage of 223 sampling sites in grassland ecosystems on the Loess Plateau using elevation, vegetation indexes, precipitation, air temperature, day and night land surface temperature (LSTd and LSTn, respectively), evapotranspiration (ET), percent tree cover and the non–vegetated area to build decision regression tree and generalized linear regression models (GLMs). The results showed that the C density decreased from south to north and ranged from 0.22 to 29.29kgC/m2. The average amount of C stored in the ecosystems was 1.46Pg. The typical steppe and forest steppe stored the most C, and the steppe desert stored the least. The soil (0–1m) stored most of the organic C, accounting for >90%, and the belowground biomass (BGB) contained >3 times the amount of C as the aboveground biomass (AGB). This study provides reference information for the loss of C and associated mitigation strategies on the Loess Plateau.