Effect of grazing exclusion on emission of greenhouse gases and soil organic carbon turnover in alpine shrub meadow

Zhiqiang Dang, Na Guo, Shanshan Li, A. Allan Degen, Jingjuan Cao, Bin Deng, Aidong Wang, Zhen Peng, Luming Ding, Ruijun Long, Zhanhuan Shang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Grazing exclusion (GE) is a management option used widely to restore degraded grassland and improve grassland ecosystems. However, the impacts of GE on soil properties and greenhouse gas emissions of alpine shrub meadow are still unclear, especially long-term GE of more than ten years. To fill part of this gap, we examined the effects of long-term GE of alpine shrub meadow on soil nutrients, soil properties, greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 and CH4) and soil organic carbon (SOC) turnover. When compared to grazed grassland (GG), long-term GE resulted in: 1) greater SOC, nitrogen (N), and phosphorous (P) content, especially in the 20–30 cm soil layer; 2) greater soil C:N, C:P and N:P ratios in the 20–30 cm depth; 3) greater soil CO2, but lesser CH4 emission during the growing season; and 4) much faster SOC turnover time (0–30 cm). GE of more than ten years can increase grassland C reserves and improve the C sequestration capacity of the ecosystem. Results from this study can have important implications in developing future grassland management policies on soil nutrient balances, restoration of degraded grassland and controlling shrub expansion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number159758
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • Alpine shrub meadow
  • Carbon turnover time
  • Grazing exclusion
  • Soil CO and CH emission
  • Soil organic carbon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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