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The carbon (C) dynamics of desert steppes play an important role in the C budget of temperate steppes. Using the Terrestrial Ecosystem Regional model (TECO-R) model for desert steppes, we examined the dynamics and potential driving mechanisms for C stocks at different temporal and spatial scales from 2000 to 2017 in northern China. The ecosystem C density averaged 2.73 kg C m and soil organic C accounted for 91.6%. The grassland biome stored 2.85 kg C m, which is higher than the shrub biome (2.19 kg C m). The ecosystem storage increased by an average of 27.75 g C m yr, with the fastest increase in the southeastern part of the study area. The grassland biome storage increased by an average of 33.54 g C m yr, versus 25.74 g C m yr for the shrub biome. The desert steppe C stock totaled 288.29 Tg C, and increased at 3.09 Tg C yr. An average of >45% of the aboveground biomass was browsed by livestock. The growing season precipitation was significantly positively correlated with changes in the C stock. Increasing temperature was negatively correlated with the C stock, especially for soil carbon. Precipitation was an important driving factor, but warming interacted with precipitation to affect C sequestration during the growing season. Outside the growing season, the increased precipitation and temperature stabilized C sequestration in the desert steppe. This improved understanding of feedbacks between the desert steppe's C cycle and climate will improve predictions of C dynamics in terrestrial ecosystems and of the impacts of climate change.
PMID: 31323572 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]