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Does land use age influence carbon cycling in the Tibetan Plateau?

Citation

Francis Justine, Meta et al. (2020), Does land use age influence carbon cycling in the Tibetan Plateau?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.mkkwh70vr

Abstract

Although substantial information had been generated on the effects of land use change on soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) storage, studies are absent on multifactorial effects of land use types, land use age, and elevation on SOC and TN storage. SOC and TN were therefore investigated in 30 field sites comprising natural forests, planted forests, shrub, and grasslands. SOC and TN stocks differed and correlated significantly with land use age; the C stocks correlates significantly with land use change compared the TN stocks. However, there was no relation between the C and N stocks with elevation, implying that SOC and TN are solely dependent on land use age. SOC sequestration potentials of the sampled ecosystems were 345.86, 293.19, 266.45, and 251.23 t ha−1 for the natural forests, planted forests, shrub, and grasslands with total mean value of 289.18 t·ha−1 (1,060.42 t·ha−1 CO2−eq). A significant SOC stock loss (17.96%, 29.80%, and 37.66%) occurred in converting natural forests to planted forests, shrub, and grasslands, whereas gains (27.36%, 14.31%, and 5.71%) would occur in reconverting grassland to natural forests, planted forests, and shrublands. Therefore, the C that was lost during deforestation and conversion of natural forests into other land use types could not match the carbon gains thereafter. Our results suggest that land use change and land use age have influenced soil C and N stocks. Moreover, natural forests are better in ecological conservation and restoration of degraded lands. This study provides baseline information for C and N management in ecologically restored and degraded lands.

Funding

Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China, Award: 2016YFC0502101,2015BAD07B050304

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 31370632 and 31500517