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1. chinaXiv:202006.00242 [pdf]

Effects of long-term warming on the aboveground biomass and species diversity in an alpine meadow on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau of China

WEN Jing; QIN Ruimin; ZHANG Shixiong; YANG Xiaoyan; XU Manhou
Subjects: Geosciences >> History of Geosciences

Ecosystems in high-altitude regions are more sensitive and respond more rapidly than other ecosystems to global climate warming. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) of China is an ecologically fragile zone that is sensitive to global climate warming. It is of great importance to study the changes in aboveground biomass and species diversity of alpine meadows on the QTP under predicted future climate warming. In this study, we selected an alpine meadow on the QTP as the study object and used infrared radiators as the warming device for a simulation experiment over eight years (2011–2018). We then analyzed the dynamic changes in aboveground biomass and species diversity of the alpine meadow at different time scales, including an early stage of warming (2011–2013) and a late stage of warming (2016–2018), in order to explore the response of alpine meadows to short-term (three years) and long-term warming (eight years). The results showed that the short-term warming increased air temperature by 0.31°C and decreased relative humidity by 2.54%, resulting in the air being warmer and drier. The long-term warming increased air temperature and relative humidity by 0.19°C and 1.47%, respectively, and the air tended to be warmer and wetter. The short-term warming increased soil temperature by 2.44°C and decreased soil moisture by 12.47%, whereas the long-term warming increased soil temperature by 1.76°C and decreased soil moisture by 9.90%. This caused the shallow soil layer to become warmer and drier under both short-term and long-term warming. Furthermore, the degree of soil drought was alleviated with increased warming duration. Under the long-term warming, the importance value and aboveground biomass of plants in different families changed. The importance values of grasses and sedges decreased by 47.56% and 3.67%, respectively, while the importance value of weeds increased by 1.37%. Aboveground biomass of grasses decreased by 36.55%, while those of sedges and weeds increased by 8.09% and 15.24%, respectively. The increase in temperature had a non-significant effect on species diversity. The species diversity indices increased at the early stage of warming and decreased at the late stage of warming, but none of them reached significant levels (P>0.05). Species diversity had no significant correlation with soil temperature and soil moisture under both short-term and long-term warming. Soil temperature and aboveground biomass were positively correlated in the control plots (P=0.014), but negatively correlated under the long-term warming (P=0.013). Therefore, eight years of warming aggravated drought in the shallow soil layer, which is beneficial for the growth of weeds but not for the growth of grasses. Warming changed the structure of alpine meadow communities and had a certain impact on the community species diversity. Our studies have great significance for the protection and effective utilization of alpine vegetation, as well as for the prevention of grassland degradation or desertification in high-altitude regions.

submitted time 2020-06-22 From cooperative journals:《Journal of Arid Land》 Hits6836Downloads428 Comment 0

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