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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2014, Article ID 379306, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/379306
Research Article

Improving Carbon Mitigation Potential through Grassland Ecosystem Restoration under Climatic Change in Northeastern Tibetan Plateau

The Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

Received 14 February 2014; Accepted 2 April 2014; Published 8 May 2014

Academic Editor: Dong Jiang

Copyright © 2014 Lin Huang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

To protect the water tower’s ecosystem environment and conserve biodiversity, China has been implementing a huge payment program for ecosystem services in the three rivers source region. We explored here the dynamics of grassland degradation and restoration from 1990 to 2012 and its relationships with climate mitigation in the TRSR to provide a definite answer as to the forcing and response of grassland degradation and restoration to climate change. Then we estimated its potential of climate mitigation benefits to address the question of whether ecological restoration could be effective in reversing the decline of ecosystem carbon mitigation service. The trend of average annual temperature and precipitation observed by meteorological stations were approximately increased. Compared before and after 2004, the area of grassland degradation was increased slightly. However, nearly one-third of degraded grassland showed improvement, and the grassland vegetation coverage showed significant increase. Comparing current grassland vegetation coverage with healthy vegetation cover with the same grass type, nearly half of the area still needs to further restore vegetation cover. The grassland degradation resulted in significant carbon emissions, but the restoration to its healthy status has been estimated to be technical mitigation potential.