EGU2020-5235, updated on 12 Jun 2020
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-5235
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Soil nutrients dynamics and the evolution of multi-decadal degradation in alpine wetlands of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

Hailing Li1,3, Tingting Li1, Wenjuan Sun2, Wen Zhang1, Lijun Yu1, Bin Guo4,5, Jia Liu6, and Xingchu Zha7
Hailing Li et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
  • 3College of Earth and Planetary Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • 4Heavy Rain and Drought-Flood Disasters in Plateau and Basin Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Chengdu, 610072, China
  • 5Aba Prefecture Meteorological station, Maerkang,624000, China
  • 6Sichuan Climate Centre, Chengdu 610071, China
  • 7Meteorological Bureau of Ruoergai, Ruoergai, 624500, China

The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) is the highest plateau on earth and has a large area of alpine swampy meadows. In the past few decades, overgrazing and climate change have caused severe desiccation and degradation of the alpine wetlands. The remote sensing technology has been used to assess the wetland shrinkage. However, changes in soil nutrients associated with the duration of alpine wetland degradation are poorly known. We took soil samples in three swampy meadows of the QTP, one terrain was relatively flat and the other two were with hummocks and hollows. Decadal gradients of degradation from nondegraded swampy meadows to degraded meadows were selected. The contents of soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) were analyzed. The SOC, TN, and TP contents loss in degraded swampy meadows occurred mainly during the first decade. The soil nutrients loss was highly affected by the geomorphic characteristics of the wetland area. After degradation, the SOC, TN, and TP contents decreased at exponential rates on the flat terrain site. The top layer SOC, TN, and TP contents of the degraded about 30 years area were 24.76±0.91, 2.22±0.07 and 0.45±0.01 (mean ± SE) g kg-1, respectively; and the SOC, TN, and TP contents decrease were 75%, 72% and 56% that of the nondegraded swampy meadows, respectively. On one hummock-hollow sites the top layer SOC, TN, and TP contents of the degraded for about 30 years area were 61.22±11.94, 4.09±0.73 and 0.44±0.05 (mean ± SE) g kg-1, respectively; and the SOC, TN, and TP contents decrease were 45%, 52% and 46% that of the nondegraded swampy meadows, respectively. The soil nutrients decomposition rate of hummock-hollow sites was much lower than the flat terrain site. Large and tough hummocks in swampy meadow degradation sites can resist environment erosion and stabilize soil nutrients content at high levels.

How to cite: Li, H., Li, T., Sun, W., Zhang, W., Yu, L., Guo, B., Liu, J., and Zha, X.: Soil nutrients dynamics and the evolution of multi-decadal degradation in alpine wetlands of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-5235, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-5235, 2020

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