Assessment of carbon storage and its influencing factors in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Document Type


Publication Date



Geography and Geology

Publication Title

Sustainability (Switzerland)


Land use/cover change (LUCC) is one of the major factors influencing the storage of ecosystem carbon. The carbon storage in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the world's highest plateau, is affected by a combination of many factors. Using MCD12Q1 land classification data, aboveground biomass, belowground biomass, soil carbon and humus carbon data, as well as field sampling data for parameters verification, we applied the InVEST model to simulate the ecosystem carbon storage and the impacts of driving factors. The field survey samples were used to test the regression accuracy, and the results confirmed that the model performance was reasonable and acceptable. The main conclusions of this study are as follows: From 2001 to 2010, carbon storage in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau increased by 10.39 billion t when assuming that the carbon density in each land cover type was constant. Changes of the land cover types caused carbon storage to increase by 116 million t, which contributed 13.82% of the dynamic carbon storage. Consequently, changes in carbon density accounted for 86.18% of the carbon storage change. In addition, we investigated the soil organic matter and aboveground biomass characteristics between 2012 and 2014 and found that the influences of fencing and dung on carbon storage were positive.

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