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Gao Q.-Z.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Gao Q.-Z.,Key Laboratory for Agro Environment and Climate Change | Wan Y.-F.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Wan Y.-F.,Key Laboratory for Agro Environment and Climate Change | And 5 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2010

Northern Tibet is the headstream region for the Yangtze, Nu (Salween River), and Lancang (Mekong River). Sustaining the environmental conditions in the region is vital for Tibet and, as the source of many rivers, the whole of China and much of Asia. The study combines remote sensing data with data from other sources and national standards of grassland degradation index to assess alpine grassland degradation index between 1981 and 2004 in Northern Tibet. A Geographical Information System (GIS) was used to examine trends in grassland degradation index and its response to climate variability, including precipitation, temperature, and solar radiation. The results show that degradation has been very serious. The areas with a significant grassland degradation index trend accounted for 23.3% of the total grasslands in Northern Tibet. During 1981-2004, precipitation variability has benefited the recovery and protection of the grasslands, while temperature and solar radiation variability exacerbated grassland degradation index in Northern Tibet. The impact of regional climate change on grassland degradation index was on the balance more detrimental than positive from 1981 to 2004. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. Source


Gao Q.-Z.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Gao Q.-Z.,Key Laboratory for Agro Environment and Climate Change | Li Y.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Li Y.,Key Laboratory for Agro Environment and Climate Change | And 4 more authors.
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change | Year: 2014

Northern Tibet is the headstream region for the Yangtze, Salween River, Mekong River, and numerous other inflowing rivers and high mountain lakes. Sustaining the environmental conditions in the region is of vital importance for Tibet and the whole of China. The alpine grassland ecosystem in Northern Tibet is the most important ecosystem and extremely sensitive to climate change and human activity. In this study, we analyzed the characteristics of climate variability based on observed meteorological data and future climate scenarios, and reviewed the impact of climate variability and to explore adaptation strategies of alpine grassland in Northern Tibet. The result showed that the annual mean temperature has increased by 0.31 °C·10a-1 while the annual total precipitation has increased by 14.6 mm·10a-1 with high inter-annual and inter-seasonal fluctuations in Northern Tibet from 1961 to 2008. The rising trends of temperature and precipitation would be continued and the aridity indices showed a decreasing trend in the future, which potentially predicts that the climate in Northern Tibet becomes warmer and dryer. The climate variability results the melting of glaciers, the expansion of inland high mountain lakes and the negative impacts on alpine grassland in recent years. In order to adapt to such possible future climate changes, the alpine grassland water-saving irrigation was recommended as key adaptation measure and also rational grazing management, alpine grassland fencing and artificial grass planting were selected as adaptation measures, to lower the negative impacts of climate variability on the alpine grassland ecosystem in Northern Tibet. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source


Gao Q.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Gao Q.,Key Laboratory for Agro Environment and Climate Change | Duan M.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Duan M.,Key Laboratory for Agro Environment and Climate Change | And 7 more authors.
Shengtai Xuebao/ Acta Ecologica Sinica | Year: 2010

Northern Tibet is the headstream region for the Yangtze, Nu (Salween River), Lancang (Mekong River), and their numerous tributaries and high mountain lakes. It is also a major livestock production centre in Tibet which is one of the nation's five key livestock raising provinces. However, Northern Tibet is situated in an extremely harsh natural environment and hosts vulnerable ecosystems which are at risk from global climate change. Alpine grassland is not only the most important and largest ecosystem in this area, but also a key resource for supporting local people's subsistence. In recent years, large areas of alpine grassland ecosystem of Northern Tibet have been severely degraded and threatened by soil erosion and desertification. Sustaining the environmental conditions of alpine grassland ecosystem in Northern Tibet is of vital importance for the Autonomous Region and the whole of China. Due to lack of comprehensive assessments, there is difficulty in identifying the spatial distribution of eco-environmental sensitivity and the priority regions of ecological and environmental construction in Northern Tibet. Therefore, major ecological problems and environmental sensitivities were analyzed and priority areas of ecological and environmental construction identified by assessing the spatial distribution of sensitivity to soil erosion, desertification and grassland degradation in Northern Tibet based on a comprehensive analysis of GIS data. The results showed that: the areas sensitive to soil erosion accounted for 42. 5% of the total land area and were mainly distributed in the eastern and central regions which comprise the economically relatively more developed and more densely populated areas of Northern Tibet, which seemed to indicate that soil erosion could deeply influence the economic development of Northern Tibet and also of Tibet as a whole. The areas sensitive to desertification, larger than those sensitive to soil erosion, occupied 78. 8% of the total land area and were mainly distributed in the northwest of Northern Tibet. Their occurrence increased progressively from southeast to northwest. Degraded grassland accounted for 50. 8% of the total grassland area. The degree of grassland degradation in the middle, eastern and northern regions of Northern Tibet was more serious, whereas the grassland degradation in the vast western region was relatively slight. The snow covered mountains and glaciers and the surrounding areas in Northern Tibet were more sensitive to changes is weather patterns, while the areas along the arterial traffic lines were more strongly impacted by human activities. The alpine grassland in these areas was rather severely degraded and susceptible to further degradation in the future. The areas most sensitive to soil erosion, desertification and grassland degradation are considered priority regions for future ecological and environmental construction in Northern Tibet. Source


Gao Q.Z.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Gao Q.Z.,Key Laboratory for Agro Environment and Climate Change | Wan Y.F.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Wan Y.F.,Key Laboratory for Agro Environment and Climate Change | And 6 more authors.
Rangeland Journal | Year: 2010

The trend in condition of alpine grasslands from 1981 to 2004 in different topographic regions and with different intensities of human activity in Northern Tibet was analysed by using remote sensing data and geographic information system techniques. The results of this study showed that the condition of the alpine grasslands in 2004 varied throughout Northern Tibet. The changes in condition over this period of most of the alpine grasslands (76.7%) were without any significant trend, whereas a larger portion of the remaining area showed significant recovery then underwent significant degradation. Where significant degradation did occur it was mostly on the steeper slopes whereas significant recovery was mostly on the flatter areas (1 slope). As a result of strong solar radiation, high temperature, drying effects and more grazing activities, alpine grasslands on the sunny slopes had a greater potential for degradation. The special geographic location of Northern Tibet (with an average elevation of 4500m.a.s.l.) means that alpine grasslands are mostly confined to an elevation ranging from 4500 to 5500m, where both human and grazing activities were mostly migratory from 1981 to 2004. As a result, by far the majority of the alpine grasslands (90.4%) had either no significant degradation or some or significant recovery between 1981 and 2004. A greater proportion of alpine grasslands at high elevations (above 5000m) had a significant trend of degradation than at lower elevations. The negative impact of residential areas on alpine grassland condition was smaller than that of roads. © Australian Rangeland Society 2010. Source


Zhang W.N.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Zhang W.N.,Key Laboratory for Agro Environment and Climate Change | Ganjurjav H.,Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences | Ganjurjav H.,Key Laboratory for Agro Environment and Climate Change | And 10 more authors.
Rangeland Journal | Year: 2015

Banning of grazing is a widely used means of restoring degraded rangeland in China. However, little is known about the time required to restore degraded alpine meadows through the use of a grazing ban. Height and cover of individual plant species and total cover, herbage mass and root mass of each plot of a grazing ban and communal free-grazing alpine meadows in Northern Tibet were examined. Soil samples were also collected and total organic carbon, microbial biomass carbon, total phosphorus and ammonium nitrogen contents were measured. The results showed that both the level of plant species diversity and herbage mass were higher in areas of a grazing ban than in communal free-grazing land without a grazing ban. No significant differences in root mass and soil nutrient contents were observed. There was a higher plant species diversity and herbage mass in the early years of a grazing ban but there was a subsequent decline. It is suggested that some grazing after a grazing ban may be necessary according to the dynamics of ecosystem responses with time. © Australian Rangeland Society 2015. Source

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