, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 525–543 | Cite as

CO2 Exchange in an Alpine Swamp Meadow on the Central Tibetan Plateau

  • Ben Niu
  • Yongtao HeEmail author
  • Xianzhou Zhang
  • Mingyuan Du
  • Peili Shi
  • Wei Sun
  • Leiming Zhang
Original Research


Alpine wetland on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau holds the highest organic carbon density of plateau ecosystems and is among the most sensitive areas to climate change. Understanding CO2 exchange and its environmental forces in this specific ecosystem can benefit constraints of carbon budgets from site to global scale under future climate change. Here we investigated CO2 flux measurements from 2009 to 2013 in a wide-distributed alpine wetland, Kobresia littledalei-Blysmus sinocompressus swamp meadow, by eddy covariance (EC) on the central Tibetan Plateau. Results showed diurnal variation of net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) was affected by photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), and this alpine swamp meadow had a high maximum ecosystem photosynthesis rate (Amax) with 32.96 μmol CO2 m−2 s−1. Nighttime ecosystem respiration (Re) rates were well associated with temperature, and average annual temperature sensitivity of Re (Q10) was 3.2. Both temperature and relative humidity (RH) played key roles in regulations of seasonal NEE, and their interactive effect was only significant in GS, especially when soil temperature at 10 cm was above 6.3 °C. Our results suggested this alpine swamp meadow was a stable CO2 sink with an annual accumulation of −161.85 ± 28.02 g C m−2. However, response of annual Re was more sensitive than GPP to change of temperature and length of growing season (LOG), which implied that future climate warming likely to weaken the CO2 sink of this alpine swamp meadow.


Alpine swamp meadow Eddy covariance Net ecosystem CO2 exchange Tibetan plateau 


For CO2 flux observations


Eddy covariance


Net ecosystem CO2 exchange


Gross primary productivity


Ecosystem respiration

For climate factors


Photosynthetically active radiation


Air temperature


Air relative humidity




Soil temperature


Net radiation

For biotic factors


Dry weight


Above-ground biomass


Normalized difference vegetation index


Non-growing season


Previous non-growing season


Later non-growing season


Growing season


Bud-growing stage


Rapid-growing stage


Peak-growing stage


Senescent stage


Growing season length

For other parameters


Day of the year


Apparent quantum yield


Maximum ecosystem photosynthesis rate


Temperature sensitivity of Re



We thank the editors and reviewers for their insightful and valuable comments. The authors are grateful to Sang Bu and other members of the Lhasa Station for Tibetan Plateau Ecological Research, the Chinese Academy of Sciences for their kind assistances with field work. And thanks a lot to Dr. Feng Yunfei, Fu Gang and Wu Jianshaung for their instructive opinions for the improvements of this manuscript. This work was supported by the Knowledge Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB03030401) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (40603024; 41171044).


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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ben Niu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yongtao He
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Xianzhou Zhang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mingyuan Du
    • 4
  • Peili Shi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Wei Sun
    • 1
  • Leiming Zhang
    • 5
  1. 1.Lhasa Plateau Ecosystem Research Station, Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.College of Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Institute for Agro-Environmental SciencesNational Agriculture and Food Research OrganizationTsukubaJapan
  5. 5.Synthesis Research Center of Chinese Ecosystem Research Network, Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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