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The effect of climatic and edaphic factors on soil organic carbon turnover in hummocks based on δ 13 C on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

The effect of climatic and edaphic factors on soil organic carbon turnover in hummocks based on δ 13 C on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Science of the Total Environment 741: 140141

ISSN/ISBN: 1879-1026

PMID: 32615420

DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140141

Hummocks (thufur, pounus) are peculiar landforms usually formed by repeated freeze-thaw processes and differential frost heave, and are common in frost soil regions, especially in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. However, little is known about the response of delta C-13 in soil organic carbon (delta(CSOC)-C-13) to soil and climate properties in hummocks. The beta value indicates the decomposition rate of soil organic carbon (SOC) in soil, and was obtained from the slope of the regression between the log(10)-transformed SOC concentration and delta(CSOC)-C-13 in soil depth profiles. In this study, we investigated delta(CSOC)-C-13 and SOC contents along a soil profile (0-60 cm), together with edaphic and climatic properties, both in hummocks and control plots (alpine grasslands) on the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Then, the variations in delta(13)CSOCand beta values, and the main factors affecting them, were analyzed. The results show that delta(CSOC)-C-13 increases with soil depth, while SOC decreases both in the hummocks and control plots. However, beta values in the hummocks were significantly (P < 0.05) higher than in the control plots while delta(CSOC)-C-13 showed no difference between hummock and control. Redundancy analysis showed that altitude is the main control factor for delta(CSOC)-C-13 and 13 in the hummocks. Climate type was the main factor affecting delta(CSOC)-C-13 in the control plots, while mean annual precipitation and soil fractal dimension were the main factors controlling 13. Overall, climate, rather than soil, is the key factor that affects the carbon turnover rate in the hummock in the northeastern QTP. The findings of this study will expand our understanding of the soil carbon cycle and delta(CSOC)-C-13 changes, especially in the case of hummocks.

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