Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 78 ›› Issue (5): 1104-1118.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202305004

• Plateau Ecosystems and Vegetation Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Evolutionary characteristics and zoning of ecosystem functional stability on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

WANG Qianxin1,2(), CAO Wei1(), HUANG Lin1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2022-11-28 Revised:2023-05-06 Online:2023-05-25 Published:2023-05-27
  • Contact: CAO Wei;
  • Supported by:
    The Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program(2019QZKK0404)


As the third pole of earth, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is an important ecological security barrier in China and an ecologically sensitive area of global climate change. The increasing climate change has posed a major challenge to its ecosystem function and stability. This paper first analyzes the spatiotemporal variation characteristics of the ecosystem pattern of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and its key functions including water conservation, soil conservation, windbreak and sand fixation from 2000 to 2020, clarifies the regional differences in ecosystem functions and their importance, and further evaluates the stability of ecosystem functions. And there is no doubt that the stable state will lay a scientific foundation for the plateau to build an ecologically civilized highland and launch protection and restoration projects. The results show that: (1) From 2000 to 2020, the wetland area of the study area increased and the grassland area decreased significantly. The water conservation and windbreak and sand fixation capacity were improved, and the annual change rates were 3.57 m3/(hm2·a) and 0.23 t/(hm2·a), respectively. However, the overall soil conservation showed a downward trend with an annual change rate of -0.16 t/(hm2·a). (2) The core areas of water conservation, soil conservation and windbreak and sand fixation accounted for 12.7%, 13.9% and 14.2%, respectively. The core water conservation barrier areas were mainly located in southeast Tibet, Sanjiangyuan and Ruoergai. The core windbreak and sand fixation areas were concentrated in the central and western parts of the plateau, and the core soil conservation areas surrounded the plateau. (3) From 2000 to 2020, the water conservation, soil conservation, and wind protection and sand-fixation functions have shown relatively high stability in the southeastern and central parts of the plateau, while relatively weak stability in the western part of the plateau. Combining stability assessment and ecological protection and restoration practices, we can divide the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau into three major categories of 16 ecosystem function zones and carry out differentiated ecological protection and restoration for different core ecosystem functions and zones.

Key words: Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, ecosystem function, importance, stability, spatiotemporal variation