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The Kobresia pygmaea ecosystem of the Tibetan highlands - Origin, functioning and degradation of the world's largest pastoral alpine ecosystem

Title data

Miehe, Georg ; Schleuss, Per-Marten ; Seeber, Elke ; Babel, Wolfgang ; Biermann, Tobias ; Braendle, Martin ; Chen, Fahu ; Coners, Heinz ; Foken, Thomas ; Gerken, Tobias ; Graf, Hans-F. ; Guggenberger, Georg ; Hafner, Silke ; Holzapfewl, Maika ; Ingrisch, Johannes ; Kuzyakov, Yakov ; Lai, Zhongping ; Lehnert, Lukas ; Leuschner, Christoph ; Li, Xiaogang ; Liu, Jianquan ; Liu, Shibin ; Ma, Yaoming ; Miehe, Sabine ; Mosbrugger, Volker ; Schmidt, Joachim ; Spielvogel, Sandra ; Unteregelsbacher, Sebastian ; Wang, Yun ; Willinghöfer, Sandra ; Xu, Xingliang ; Yang, Yongping ; Zhang, Shuren ; Opgenoorth, Lars ; Wesche, Karsten:
The Kobresia pygmaea ecosystem of the Tibetan highlands - Origin, functioning and degradation of the world's largest pastoral alpine ecosystem.
In: Science of the Total Environment. Vol. 648 (2019) . - pp. 754-771.
ISSN 1879-1026
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.08.164

Abstract in another language

With 450,000 km2 Kobresia (syn. Carex) pygmaea dominated pastures in the eastern Tibetan highlands are the world's largest pastoral alpine ecosystem forming a durable turf cover at 3000–6000ma.s.l. Kobresia's resilience and competitiveness is based on dwarf habit, predominantly below-ground allocation of photo assimilates, mixture of seed production and clonal growth, and high genetic diversity. Kobresia growth is co-limited by livestockmediated nutrient withdrawal and, in the drier parts of the plateau, low rainfall during the short and cold growing season. Overstocking has caused pasture degradation and soil deterioration over most parts of the Tibetan highlands and is the basis for this man-made ecosystem. Natural autocyclic processes of turf destruction and soil erosion are initiated through polygonal turf cover cracking, and accelerated by soil-dwelling endemic small mammals in the absence of predators. The major consequences of vegetation cover deterioration include the release of large amounts of C, earlier diurnal formation of clouds, and decreased surface temperatures. These effects decrease the recovery potential of Kobresia pastures and make them more vulnerable to anthropogenic pressure and climate change. Traditional migratory rangeland management was sustainable over millennia, and possibly still offers the best strategy to conserve and possibly increase C stocks in the Kobresia turf.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER147643
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Soil Ecology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professorship Micrometeorology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Former Professors > Professorship Micrometeorology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Foken
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2019 10:59
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2019 10:59
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/48090