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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 265142, 9 pages
Research Article

Response of Soil Respiration to Grazing in an Alpine Meadow at Three Elevations in Tibet

1Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Lhasa Plateau Ecosystem Research Station, Beijing 100101, China
2Department of Microbiology and Plant Botany, Center for Spatial Analysis, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA
3College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Received 8 October 2013; Accepted 27 February 2014; Published 24 March 2014

Academic Editors: J. Aherne, F. Bastida, and K. Wang

Copyright © 2014 Gang Fu 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.


Alpine meadows are one major type of pastureland on the Tibetan Plateau. However, few studies have evaluated the response of soil respiration ( ) to grazing along an elevation gradient in an alpine meadow on the Tibetan Plateau. Here three fenced enclosures were established in an alpine meadow at three elevations (i.e., 4313 m, 4513 m, and 4693 m) in July 2008. We measured inside and outside the three fenced enclosures in July–September, 2010-2011. Topsoil (0–20 cm) samples were gathered in July, August, and September, 2011. There were no significant differences for , dissolved organic C (DOC), and belowground root biomass (BGB) between the grazed and ungrazed soils. Soil respiration was positively correlated with soil organic C (SOC), microbial biomass (MBC), DOC, and BGB. In addition, both and BGB increased with total N (TN), the ratio of SOC to TN, ammonium N ( -N), and the ratio of -N to nitrate N. Our findings suggested that the negligible response of to grazing could be directly attributed to that of respiration substrate and that soil N may indirectly affect by its effect on BGB.