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Journal of Arid Land  2016, Vol. 8 Issue (2): 207-220    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-015-0091-3
Research Articles     
Dynamics of ecosystem carbon stocks during vegetation restoration on the Loess Plateau of China
WANG Kaibo1, DENG Lei2, REN Zongping2,3*, SHI Weiyu1, CHEN Yiping1, SHANG-GUAN Zhouping2
1 State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi’an 710075, China;
2 State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China;
3 State Key Laboratory Base of Eco-Hydraulic Engineering in Arid Area, Xi’an University of Technology, Xi’an 710048, China
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Abstract  In the last few decades, the Loess Plateau had experienced an extensive vegetation restoration to reduce soil erosion and to improve the degraded ecosystems. However, the dynamics of ecosystem carbon stocks with vegetation restoration in this region are poorly understood. This study examined the changes of carbon stocks in mineral soil (0–100 cm), plant biomass and the ecosystem (plant and soil) following vegetation restoration with different models and ages. Our results indicated that cultivated land returned to native vegetation (natural restoration) or artificial forest increased ecosystem carbon sequestration. Tree plantation sequestered more carbon than natural vegetation succession over decades scale due to the rapid increase in biomass carbon pool. Restoration ages had different effects on the dynamics of biomass and soil carbon stocks. Biomass carbon stocks increased with vegetation restoration age, while the dynamics of soil carbon stocks were affected by sampling depth. Ecosystem carbon stocks consistently increased after tree plantation regardless of the soil depth; but an initial decrease and then increase trend was observed in natural restoration chronosequences with the soil sampling depth of 0–100 cm. Moreover, there was a time lag of about 15–30 years between biomass production and soil carbon sequestration in 0–100 cm, which indicated a long-term effect of vegetation restoration on deeper soil carbon sequestration.

Key wordsminimum ecological flow      minimum ecological water level      wetted perimeter method      physical habitat simulation method      in-undated forest width method      lake surface area method     
Received: 20 April 2015      Published: 01 April 2016

This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41301610, 41501094, 41330858), the Key Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KZZD-EW-04), the Natural Science Basic Research Plan in Shaanxi Province of China (2014JQ5170) and the open foundation of State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau (A318009902-1510).

Corresponding Authors: REN Zongping     E-mail:
Cite this article:

WANG Kaibo, DENG Lei, REN Zongping, SHI Weiyu, CHEN Yiping, SHANG-GUAN Zhouping. Dynamics of ecosystem carbon stocks during vegetation restoration on the Loess Plateau of China. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(2): 207-220.

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