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Global Warming Impacts on Alpine Vegetation Dynamic in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau of China

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DOI: 10.4236/gep.2014.23007    3,227 Downloads   4,376 Views  

ABSTRACT

This study is to illustrate alpine vegetation dynamics in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau of China from simulated filed experimental climate change, vegetation community dynamic simulation integrated with scenarios of global temperature increase of 1 to 3°C, and simulated regional alpine vegetation distribution changes in responses to global warming. Our warming treatment increased air temperatures by 5°C on average and soil temperatures were elevated by 3°C at 5 cm depth. Above- ground biomass of grasses responded rapidly to the warmer conditions whereby biomass was 25% greater than that of controls after only 5 wk of experimental warming. This increase was accompanied by a simultaneous decrease in forb biomass, resulting in almost no net change in community biomass after 5 wk. Under warmed conditions, peak community bio-mass was extended into October due in part to continued growth of grasses and the postponement of senescence. The Vegetation Dynamic Simulation Model calculates a probability surface for each vegetation type, and then combines all vegetation types into a composite map, determined by the maximum likelihood that each vegetation type should distribute to each raster unit. With scenarios of global temperature increase of 1°C to 3°C, the vegetation types such as Dry Kobresia Meadow and Dry Potentilla Shrub that are adapted to warm and dry conditions tend to become more dominant in the study area.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Zhang, Y. and Welker, J. (2014) Global Warming Impacts on Alpine Vegetation Dynamic in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau of China. Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 2, 54-59. doi: 10.4236/gep.2014.23007.

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