Pedosphere 24(1): 39--44, 2014
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2014 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Climatic and edaphic controls on soil pH in alpine grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau, China: A quantitative analysis
JI Cheng-Jun1, YANG Yuan-He1,2, HAN Wen-Xuan3, HE Yan-Fang3, J. SMITH4 and P. SMITH4
1Department of Ecology, and Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871 (China)
2State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093 (China)
3 3College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193 (China)
4Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UU (UK)
      Soil acidity is an important parameter that can regulate ecosystem structure and function. However, a quantitative understanding of the relationships between soil pH and environmental factors remains unavailable. In this study, relationships of soil pH with both climatic and edaphic factors in alpine grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau, China were quantified using data obtained from a regional soil survey during 2001--2004. Our results showed that soil pH decreased along the gradient of both mean annual temperature and precipitation. Likewise, soil pH exhibited consistent negative correlations with soil moisture and silt content. However, soil organic and inorganic carbon contents played opposite roles in shaping patterns of soil pH: the accumulation of soil organic matter led to higher soil acidity, while the existence of soil inorganic matter was favorable for maintaining higher soil alkalinity. The variation partitioning analysis indicated that the combination of climatic and edaphic variables explained 74.3% of the variation in soil acidity. These results suggest that soil pH can be predicted from routinely-measured variables, allowing a robust pedotransfer function to be developed. The pedotransfer function may facilitate land surface models to generate more reliable predictions on ecosystem structure and function around the world.
Key Words:  climate, soil acidity, soil inorganic carbon, soil organic carbon, soil texture
Citation: Ji, C. J., Yang, Y. H., Han, W. X., He, Y. F., Smith, J. and Smith, P. 2014. Climatic and edaphic controls on soil pH in alpine grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau, China: A quantitative analysis. Pedosphere. 24(1): 39-44.
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