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


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.

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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.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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