Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 73 ›› Issue (5): 856-867.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201805006

• Land Use and Ecosystem Services • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Ecological service functions and value estimation of glaciers in the Tianshan Mountains, China

ZHANG Zhengyong1(),HE Xinlin1(),LIU Lin1,LI Zhongqin2,WANG Puyu2   

  1. 1. Shihezi University, Shihezi 832000, Xinjiang, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • Received:2017-03-28 Online:2018-05-03 Published:2018-05-03
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41761108, No.41461086,No.41641003;Shihezi University High-level Talents Support Program, No.CZ0227


The mountain glacier which has unique and irreplaceable ecological service function is the material basis and characteristic cultural foundation of the ecological environment and socio-economic sustainable development in arid area. However, there are few studies on estimating service function and value of ice regulating ecological environment and providing human welfare and so on. Based on the data of the first and second glacier catalogs, this research examines variations of glacier area and ice reserves of the Tianshan Mountains in China and constructs the ecosystem service function of mountain glaciers. And this study combines the unit area service function price method and equivalent factor method to evaluate the annual ecological service value of glacier in the research area. The research results are shown as follows: Firstly, in the last 40 years, glacier area decreases by 1274 km2, with the shrinking rate being 13.9%, and the annual average glacial reserve decreases by about 4.08×109 m3. And the increased area in glacier area of the high altitude (> 5200 m) may be due to the fact that the effect of glacier accumulation caused by precipitation enhancement is greater than that of glacier melting caused by temperature rise. Secondly, the annual ecological service value of glaciers in the research area is 60 billion yuan. And the value of climate regulation, hydrology regulation and freshwater resources supply contribute respectively 66.4%, 21.6% and 9.3% of the total value, and the average annual ecological service value of hydroelectric power is about 350 million yuan. Other regulation and the service function value is about 1.3 billion yuan. Finally, this study finds that supply of fresh water resources, physical production and the ecological regulating function account for the absolute contribution in the ecological system, through the comparative analysis of ice, forest, grassland and wetland ecosystem service value of different proportions of the total value, and the ecological service value of the glacier unit area is higher than those of other kinds of ecosystems. Therefore the purpose of the research is to improve the understanding of human beings on impact of glacier about the human welfare, the maintenance of ecological environment and other aspects, and provide a basis for policy making in cryosphere ecological security, environmental protection and sustainable use of resources for planning and management.

Key words: mountain glacier, ecological function, service value, evaluation, Tianshan Mountains