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Changes in soil organic carbon in the upper Heihe river basin, China

Qin YY1,2, F Qi1, NM Holden3, JJ Cao4
1 Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology of Inland River Basin, Alashan Desert Ecohydrology Experimental Research Station, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 73000, China.
2 Research Institute of Forestry Science of Bai Long Jiang Forestry Management Bureau, Lanzhou 73000, China.
3 UCD School of Biosystems Engineering, Agriculture and Food Science Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
4 College of Geography and Environment Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 73000, China.
Address correspondence to: Qi Feng, No. 320, Donggangxi Road, Lanzhou City, Gansu Province, China. Zip code 73000. Telephone +86-0931-4967089. Fax +86-0931-4967089, e-mail:

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2016, 85(all), 149-154.


The Heihe River Basin is a globally significant carbon pool, but its soil organic carbon dynamics is poorly understood. Soil samples taken between 2500 m and 4100 m revealed that the majority (>75%) of soil organic carbon was from 0-40 cm. It showed a negative relationship with pH and soil bulk density, and a positive relationship with altitude and soil water content, respectively. From 2005 to 2011, soil carbon content in the upper catchment decreased from 93 g/kg to 53 g/kg. These results suggest that policies should aim to reduce carbon loss by transferring it from the top- to the sub-soil.


Meadow, Soil properties, Soil carbon content, Soil carbon storage, Qilian Mountains.

Cite This Article

YY, Q., Qi, F., Holden, N., Cao, J. (2016). Changes in soil organic carbon in the upper Heihe river basin, China. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 85(all), 149–154.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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