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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.


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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