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Journal of Arid Land  2016, Vol. 8 Issue (5): 799-810    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0085-9
Research Articles     
Altitudinal changes of surface pollen and vegetation on the north slope of the Middle Tianshan Mountains, China
YANG Zhenjing1,2*, ZHANG Yun2, REN Haibao2, YAN Shun3, KONG Zhaochen2, MA Keping2, NI Jian4
1 Institute of Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Shijiazhuang 050061, China;
2 State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China;
3 Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China;
4 State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang 550002, China
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Abstract  To provide information on vegetation patterns and altitudinal distributions of pollen assemblage in surface soil layers, their complicated relationships in a dryland mountain-basin system in northwestern China and a realistic basis for paleovegetational reconstruction, we investigated 86 vegetation quadrats and analyzed 80 soil samples from the surface soil layers along an altitudinal transect on the north slope of the Middle Tianshan Mountains from alpine cushion vegetation at 3,510 m near glacier to desert vegetation at 460 m in the Gurbantunggut Desert. According to surface pollen assemblages and the results of the detrended correspondence analysis, the transect can be divided into six major altitudinal pollen zones as alpine cushion vegetation, alpine and subalpine meadows, montane Picea forest, forest-steppe ecotone, Artemisia desert and typical desert, which basically reflect the characteristics of the mountainous vegetation patterns on the north slope of the Middle Tianshan Mountains. However, Picea pollen also exists outside the spruce forest, Chenopodiaceae and Artemisia pollen appeared above the elevation of 1,300 m, indicating that most of them might be introduced from lower elevations by upslope winds. Airborne pollen researches from three regions at different elevations further suggest that a high-frequency northwest anabatic wind has a remarkable influence on the transportation and dispersion of surface pollen in the area.

Key wordselevation gradient      soil organic matter      CO2 efflux      metabolic activity     
Received: 10 August 2015      Published: 15 June 2016

This research was jointly funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (40972212, 41272386, 41572331, 90102009, 31590822), the Scientific Research Foundation for the Young Scientists of State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Returned Overseas Chinese Scholars, Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China and the National Postdoc Science Foundation of China (2003033253).

Corresponding Authors: YANG Zhenjing     E-mail:
Cite this article:

YANG Zhenjing, ZHANG Yun, REN Haibao, YAN Shun, KONG Zhaochen, MA Keping, NI Jian. Altitudinal changes of surface pollen and vegetation on the north slope of the Middle Tianshan Mountains, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(5): 799-810.

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