Tibetan Plateau
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2022 ◽  
Vol 135 ◽  
pp. 108541
Author(s):  
Dawen Qian ◽  
Yangong Du ◽  
Qian Li ◽  
Xiaowei Guo ◽  
Bo Fan ◽  
...  

PeerJ ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 10 ◽  
pp. e12771
Author(s):  
Jinlan Wang ◽  
Wen Li ◽  
Wenxia Cao ◽  
Shilin Wang

Grazing is the main grassland management strategy applied in alpine shrubland ecosystems on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. However, how different intensities of long-term grazing affect plant diversity, biomass accumulation and carbon (C) stock in these ecosystems is poorly understood. In this study, alpine shrubland with different long-term (more than 30 years) grazing intensities (excluded from grazing for 5 years (EX), light grazing (LG), moderate grazing (MG) and heavy grazing (HG)) on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau were selected to study changes in plant diversity, aboveground biomass and C accumulation, as well as distribution of C stock among biomass components and soil depths. A structural equation model was used to illustrate the impact of grazing on the soil carbon stock (SOC). The results showed that the Shannon–Wiener diversity index and richness index of herbaceous plants, shrubs, and communities first significantly increased and then decreased with increasing grazing intensity, reaching maxima at the LG site. The aboveground and belowground and litter biomass of understory herbaceous plants, shrubs and communities decreased with increasing grazing intensity, reaching maxima at the EX site. The aboveground and belowground biomass C storage decreased with increasing grazing intensity, reaching maxima at the EX site. The SOC stock and total ecosystem C stock decreased with increasing grazing intensity, reaching maxima at the EX and LG sites. A structural equation model showed that grazing-induced changes in the belowground biomass of understory herbaceous plants greatly contributed to the SOC stock decrease. Thus, considering the utilization and renewal of grassland resources, as well as local economic benefits and ecological effects, LG may be a more rational grazing intensity for species diversity conservation and ecosystem C sequestration in alpine shrubland. Our results provide new insights for incorporating grazing intensity into shrub ecosystem C stock and optimizing grazing management and grassland ecosystem C management.


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