Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2022-222
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2022-222
 
05 Jan 2023
05 Jan 2023
Status: this preprint has been withdrawn by the authors.

Ideas and perspectives: soil cracking should be given great attention in the collapse of Kobresia ecosystems on the Tibetan Plateau

Yujie Niu1,2, Victor Squires3, and Limin Hua1 Yujie Niu et al.
  • 1College of Grassland Science, Gansu Agricultural University / Key Laboratory of Grassland Ecosystem of the Ministry of Education, Lanzhou, 730070, China
  • 2Department of Disturbance Ecology, BayCEER, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, 95440, Germany
  • 3University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

Abstract. The Kobresia meadow in the Tibetan plateau is the world's largest and most unique pastoral alpine ecosystem, forming dense and closed ‘lawns’ mainly dominated by Kobresia species. Soil cracking induced by overstocking is an important feature of degraded alpine Kobresia meadows: it cuts the closed, intact rangeland and alters microtopography. However, soil cracks in alpine grasslands of the Tibetan plateau have rarely been reported and the importance of cracking in relation to livestock overgrazing for the degradation and collapse of alpine rangelands has not been taken seriously. In this Perspectives article, we explain the mechanisms of soil crack formation in Kobresia meadows under overgrazing; the ways in which the soil cracks affect the dynamics of hydrological processes and trigger the erosion of Kobresia turfs; and finally the effects on plant community composition and distribution. We outline the importance of recognizing soil cracks as visual indicators and early warning signs of degradation in order to recover alpine Kobresia meadows by reducing stocking rate. The purpose of this article is to emphasize that researchers and managers of alpine rangelands should pay more attention to crack phenomena in an effort to promote sustainable practices and restoration in Kobresia meadow-livestock systems.

This preprint has been withdrawn.

Yujie Niu et al.

Interactive discussion

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Interactive discussion

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Yujie Niu et al.

Yujie Niu et al.

Viewed

Total article views: 111 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
89 18 4 111 1 1
  • HTML: 89
  • PDF: 18
  • XML: 4
  • Total: 111
  • BibTeX: 1
  • EndNote: 1
Views and downloads (calculated since 05 Jan 2023)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 05 Jan 2023)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 88 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 88 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 
Latest update: 28 Jan 2023
Download

This preprint has been withdrawn.

Short summary
Soil cracks act as preferential flow channels, greatly affecting the dynamics of hydrological process in Kobresia meadows, and may further threaten the drinking water security. Soil cracks expose the Kobresia ecosystems under overgrazing to chronic drought stress, and accelerate the erosion of Kobresia turfs. Gradual alpine ecosystem degradation is more difficult to detect, soil cracking can be used as a visual indicator of early alpine grassland degradation.
Altmetrics