Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 357–363 | Cite as

Aboveground biomass of the alpine shrub ecosystems in Three-River Source Region of the Tibetan Plateau

  • Xiu-qing Nie
  • Lu-cun Yang
  • Feng Xiong
  • Chang-bin Li
  • Li Fan
  • Guo-ying Zhou


Though aboveground biomass (AGB) has an important contribution to the global carbon cycle, the information about storage and climatic effects of AGB is scare in Three-River Source Region (TRSR) shrub ecosystems. This study investigated AGB storage and its climatic controls in the TRSR alpine shrub ecosystems using data collected from 23 sites on the Tibetan Plateau from 2011 to 2013. We estimated the AGB storage (both shrub layer biomass and grass layer biomass) in the alpine shrubs as 37.49 Tg, with an average density of 1447.31 g m-2. Biomass was primarily accumulated in the shrub layer, which accounted for 92% of AGB, while the grass layer accounted for only 8%. AGB significantly increased with the mean annual temperature (P < 0.05). The effects of the mean annual precipitation on AGB were not significant. These results suggest that temperature, rather than precipitation, has significantly effects on of aboveground vegetation growth in the TRSR alpine shrub ecosystems. The actual and potential increase in AGB density was different due to global warming varies among different regions of the TRSR. We conclude that long-term monitoring of dynamic changes is necessary to improve the accuracy estimations of potential AGB carbon sequestration across the TRSR alpine shrub ecosystems.


Alpine shrub ecosystem Aboveground biomass Temperature Precipitation Sanjiangyuan Three-River Source Region 


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We thank ZHONG Ze-bing, LIU He-chun and NING Yi for facilitating our field surveys on the Tibetan Plateau and laboratory assistance. This study is funded by the National Science and Technology Support Project (Grant No. 2014BAC05B01), National Program on Basic Work Project of China (Grant No. 2015FY11030001), Strategic Priority Research Program of CAS (Grant No. XDA0505030304), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 40801076).


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Tibetan Medicine Research, Northwest Institute of Plateau BiologyChinese Academy of ScienceXiningChina
  2. 2.Qinghai Key Laboratory of Qing-Tibet Plateau Biological ResourcesXiningChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Institute of Qinghai Meteorological Science ResearchXiningChina

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