Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2017, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (8): 967-980.doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1415-3

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Carbon sequestration potential and its eco-service function in the karst area, China

Xianwei SONG1,2(), Yang GAO2,3(), Xuefa WEN2, Dali GUO2, Guirui YU2, Nianpeng HE2, Jinzhong ZHANG1   

  1. 1. College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University, Chongqing 400716, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2016-12-14 Accepted:2017-01-18 Online:2017-08-31 Published:2017-08-31
  • About author:

    Author: Song Xianwei (1993-), Master, specialized in ecological hydrology. E-mail:

    *Corresponding author: Gao Yang (1981-), Associate Professor, E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571130043;Youth Innovation Promotion Association, CAS


The karst critical zone is an essential component of the carbon (C) pool, constituting the global C cycle. It is referred to as one of the “residual land sink” that remains largely indeterminate. Karst area (2.2×107 km2) comprises 15% of the world’s land area, and karst area comprises 3.44×106 km2 of area in China. Due to the complexity of karst structure and its considerable heterogeneity, C sequestration rate estimations contain large inaccuracies, especially in relation to the different methods used in calculations. Therefore, we reevaluated rock weathering-related C sink estimations in China (approximately 4.74 Tg C yr-1), which we calibrated from previous studies. Additionally, we stipulated that more comprehensive research on rock-soil-biology-atmosphere continuum C migration is essential to better understand C conversion mechanisms based on uncertainty analyses of C sink estimations. Moreover, we stressed that a collective confirmation of chemical methods and simulated models through a combined research effort could at least partially eliminate such uncertainty. Furthermore, integrated C cycling research need a long-term observation of the carbon flux of multi-interfaces. The enhanced capacity of ecosystem C and soil C pools remains an effective way of increasing C sink. Karst ecosystem health and security is crucial to human social development, accordingly, it is critical that we understand thresholds or potential C sink capacities in karst critical zones now and in the future.

Key words: karst, karst critical zone, carbon sink, carbon sequestration rate, China