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Journal of Arid Land  2015, Vol. 7 Issue (1): 82-93    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0038-0
Brief Communication     
Species composition and diversity, and carbon stock in a dune ecosystem in the Horqin Sandy Land of northern China
FeiLong HU1,2, WenKai SHOU1,2, Bo LIU1, ZhiMin LIU1*, Carlos A BUSSO3
1 State Key Laboratory of Forest and Soil Ecology, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110164, China;
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China;
3 Agronomy Department, National University of the South and CERZOS (CONICET), Bahía Blanca 8000, Argentina
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Abstract  In this study, we determined carbon allocation and carbon stocks in the plant-soil system of different dune ecosystems in northeastern China. We quantified the species composition, above- and below-ground biomasses, and carbon stocks of three dune types (i.e. active dunes, semi-stabilized dunes and stabilized dunes) and their corresponding inter-dune lowlands (i.e. interdune lowlands of active dunes, interdune lowlands of semi-stabilized dunes and interdune lowlands of stabilized dunes) in the Horqin Sandy Land. The results showed that the succession series on interdune lowlands of the Horqin Sandy Land confirmed differences in species composition of the various dune types. Aboveground carbon (AGC) on the interdune lowlands of semi-stabilized dunes (33.04 g C/m2) was greater (P<0.05) than that on the interdune lowlands of active dunes (10.73 g C/m2). At the same time, the different dune types did not show any significant differences (P>0.05) in belowground plant carbon (BGC). However, the percentage of plant BGC in interdune lowlands of active dunes (81.5%) was significantly higher (P<0.05) than that in the interdune lowlands of semi-stabilized dunes (58.9%). The predominant carbon pool in the study dune ecosystem was in the soil. It accounted for 95% to 99% of total carbon storage. Soil organic carbon (SOC) was at least 55% greater (P<0.05) in the interdunes than in the dunes. Stabilized dunes showed at least a 37% greater (P<0.05) SOC content than active dunes up to a 1-m soil depth. Meanwhile, SOC content of interdune lowlands of semi-stabilized dunes was greater (P<0.05) than that of interdune lowlands of active dunes only up to a 20-cm soil depth. The dune ecosystem showed a great potential to store carbon when interdune lowlands of active dunes were conversed to interdune lowlands of semi-stabilized dunes, which stored up to twice as much carbon per unit volume as interdune lowlands of active dunes.

Key wordshydrological process      mountainous runoff      inland river basin      soil and water assessment tool      the Heihe Mainstream River     
Received: 02 January 2014      Published: 10 February 2015

This research was financially supported by the National Program on Key Basic Research Project (973 Program) (2013CB429905-01). The author, Carlos A BUSSO thanks (1) the sabbatical leave given by Agronomy Department, National University of the South and CERZOS (CONICET), (2) the associateship awarded by the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS)-UNESCO, and (3) housing, facilities and financial support from the Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.

Corresponding Authors: ZhiMin LIU     E-mail:
Cite this article:

FeiLong HU, WenKai SHOU, Bo LIU, ZhiMin LIU, Carlos A BUSSO. Species composition and diversity, and carbon stock in a dune ecosystem in the Horqin Sandy Land of northern China. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(1): 82-93.

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