PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2012, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (11): 1510-1518.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2012.11.012

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Responses of Carbon Cycling Key Processes to Precipitation Changes in Arid and Semiarid Grassland Ecosystems: A review

PENG Qin1, QI Yuchun1, DONG Yunshe1, HE Yating1, LIU Xinchao1, SUN Liangjie1, JIA Junqiang1, JIN Zhao2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Scicences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Institute of Earth Environment, CAS, Xi'an 710075, China
  • Received:2012-01-01 Revised:2012-06-01 Online:2012-11-25 Published:2012-11-25

Abstract: Climate models predict that the amounts and the timing of precipitation will change in the future, both globally and regionally. Given the sensitivity of grassland to water availability in arid and semiarid areas, the variability of precipitation will undoubtedly influence the net primary production (NPP) and soil respiration (Rs), the two most key processes of carbon cycles in these ecosystems. And then, it can change the carbon budget of grassland. Thus, in order to better predict the function of carbon budget of grassland in future precipitation scenario, it is crucial to investigate the responses of the two key processes (NPP and Rs) to precipitation changes in arid and semiarid grassland ecosystems. This paper reviews research progress at home and abroad on how NPP and Rs respond to precipitation changes, points out the areas for improvement and discusses about the topics where more focus is needed in the future: (1) Study of the effects of precipitations intensity, frequency and interval on the responses of NPP, especially below ground NPP; (2) By better categorizing the components of soil respiration and studying the temporal and spatial variability of NPP and Rs, further explore the mechanism of their responses to the changing precipitation regimes; (3) Long term in-situ field research on the“lagged effects” of the responses of NPP and Rs to climate change.

Key words: autotrophic respiration, grassland, heterotrophic respiration, net primary production, precipitation changes, soil respiration