, Volume 49, Issue 8, pp 834-841

Approaches to prediction of impact of Qinghai-Tibet Railway construction on alpine ecosystems alongside and its recovery

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Abstract

With the aid of the Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, the ecosystem pattern and fragility distribution maps of the 50-km-wide zone along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway were compiled and by using the superimposition method, range, area and indexes of the impact of various engineering activities on the ecosystems alongside the railway were studied. By making reference to the ecosystem recovery process of the Qinghai-Tibet Highway, mechanisms of recovery of the alpine ecosystems alongside the Qinghai-Tibet Railway were studied and extents and rates of the recovery were predicted. The results indicate that the impact of the railway engineering on the Alpine ecosystem depends mainly on how much the original surface soil in the zone has been disturbed and how fragile of the ecosystemper se. Restoration of vegetation coverage and species abundance shows a significantly reverse relationship with disturbance of the original surface soil but an extremely positive one with the length of the restoration period and mean annual precipitation and annual mean relative humidity in the period and no obvious bearings with altitude and temperature. In sections with an annual precipitation over 200 mm, as long as a certain percentage of original soil is leftin situ, it takes only 30 years or so for biodiversity to get basically restored to the original level after the construction is completed but at least 45–60 years or more for vegetation coverage.