Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2010, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (5): 729-740.doi: 10.1007/s11442-010-0807-4

• Studies on Arid Lands • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Distribution of soil organic carbon under different vegetation zones in the Ili River Valley, Xinjiang

YANG Yuhai, CHEN Yaning, LI Weihong, CHEN Yapeng   

  1. Key Laboratory of Oasis Ecology and Desert Environment, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS, Urumqi 830011, China
  • Received:2010-03-30 Revised:2010-05-06 Online:2010-10-15 Published:2010-10-15
  • Supported by:

    The National Science and Technology Support Plan, No.2007BAC15B08; CAS Western Light Program, No.RCPY 200801


We analyzed and estimated the distribution and reserves of soil organic carbon under nine different vegetation conditions including alpine meadow, meadow steppe, typical steppe, desert steppe, and temperate coniferous forest and so on, in the Ili River valley, Xinjiang according to data from field investigations and laboratory analyses in 2008 and 2009. The study results show that the soil organic carbon content in the Ili River valley varies with the type of vegetation. In the 0–50 cm soil horizon, the soil organic carbon content is the highest under the vegetation types of alpine meadow and meadow steppe, slightly lower under temperate coniferous forest and typical steppe, and the lowest under the intrazonal vegetation and desert vegetation types. The soil organic carbon content shows basically a tendency to decrease as soil depth increases under various vegetation types except in the case of the intrazonal vegetation. Similarly, the soil organic carbon density is the highest and varies little under the vegetation types of alpine meadow, meadow steppe and temperate coniferous forest, and is the lowest under the desert vegetation type. Both the soil organic carbon content and density in the topsoil of meadows in the Ili River valley are high, so protecting meadows in the Ili River valley, and especially their topsoil, should be a priority so that the potential of change in soil organic carbon in the shallow soil horizon is reduced, and this means maintenance of the stability of the soil carbon pool.

Key words: vegetation, grassland, soil organic carbon, Ili River Valley