, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 263-270

Above- and belowground biomass in relation to environmental factors in temperate grasslands, Inner Mongolia

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Abstract

Above- and belowground biomasses of grasslands are important parameters for characterizing regional and global carbon cycles in grassland ecosystems. Compared with the relatively detailed information for aboveground biomass (AGB), belowground biomass (BGB) is poorly reported at the regional scales. The present study, based on a total of 113 sampling sites in temperate grassland of the Inner Mongolia, investigated regional distribution patterns of AGB, BGB, vertical distribution of roots, and their relationships with environmental factors. AGB and BGB increased from the southwest to the northeast of the study region. The largest biomass occurred in meadow steppe, with mean AGB and BGB of 196.7 and 1385.2 g/m2, respectively; while the lowest biomass occurred in desert steppe, with an AGB of 56.6 g/m2 and a BGB of 301.0 g/m2. In addition, about 47% of root biomass was distributed in the top 10 cm soil. Further statistical analysis indicated that precipitation was the primary determinant factor in shaping these distribution patterns. Vertical distribution of roots was significantly affected by precipitation, while the effects of soil texture and grassland types were weak.

Supported by the National Natural Science Fundation of China (Grant Nos. 90211016, 40021101 and 30700090)