Responses of Grassland Net Primary Productivity to Environmental Variables in Northern China

  • 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China;
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Received date: 2016-01-20

  Revised date: 2016-02-15

  Online published: 2016-04-12

Supported by

“Strategic Priority Research Program-Climate Change: Carbon Budget and Relevant Issues” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Project Number XDA05090305)


Various environmental factors affect net primary productivity (NPP) of grassland ecosystem. Extensive reports on the effects of environmental variables on NPP can be found in literature. However, the agreement on the relative importance of various factors in shaping the spatial pattern of grassland NPP has not yet been reached. Here a grassland in situ NPP database comprising 602 samples in northern China for 1980-1999 was developed based on a literature review of published biomass and forage yield field measurements. Correlation analyses and dominance analysis were used to quantify the separate and combined effects of environmental variables (climate, topography and soil) on spatial variation in NPP separately. Grassland NPP ranged from 4.76 g C m-2a-1 to 975.94 g C m-2a-1, showing significant variations in space. NPP increased with annual precipitation and declined with annual mean temperature significantly. Specifically, precipitation had the greatest impact on deserts, followed by steppes and meadows. Grassland NPP decreased with increasing altitude because of water limitation, and positively correlated with slope, but weakly correlated with aspect. Soil quality showed positive effects on NPP. Annual precipitation was the dominant factor affecting the spatial variability of net primary productivity, followed by elevation.

Cite this article

LIU Fang, ZHANG Hongqi, XU Erqi, KANG Lei . Responses of Grassland Net Primary Productivity to Environmental Variables in Northern China[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2016 , 7(2) : 92 -100 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2016.02.003


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