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Scientists Reveal Relationship between Distribution of Soil and Landform in Qinghai-Xiang Plateau

Nov 25, 2015     Email"> PrintText Size

The soil is the most basic natural resource, and the soil-landscape pattern is a kind of model to explain the relationship between soil data and environmental factors, which also helps us to understand relations between soil and environment and the distribution and classification of soil.  

The Qinghai-Xizang (Tibetan) Plateau (QTP) is the highest and largest permafrost region around the world. Under the influence of permafrost and intense freeze-thaw action for many years, the soil of QTP shows characteristics of high altitude, simplex underlying surface and permafrost development. 

Nevertheless, due to the sparsely populated and traffic inconvenience, existing soil data of QTP has not met the demands of modern agriculture and animal husbandry, environmental managements and ecological protections. 

To investigate the relationship between the soil distribution and landform and also provide the basic soil data for permafrost regions on the Qinghai-Xizang (Tibetan) Plateau (QTP), scientists with Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (CAREERI) established a soil-landscape model using the See5.0 decision tree software with ten parameters which were selected by the statistical analysis of the field data collected during 2009-2011. 

Research results showed the different distribution pattern of soils between the eastern and western parts of the QTP mainly related to climate conditions. The eastern part has warmer and wetter climate conditions. Results also revealed that same type of soil showed different pattern along elevation gradients.  

In a word, Soils in the eastern part show a better development and soil types in the east are more abundant than those of the western part. The spatial distribution of soil types in the eastern part is more homogeneous than that of the western part of the QTP. 

In addition, Results suggested that permafrost plays an important role in soil-forming processes, which may led to the distribution of Aridisols mainly occurred in higher altitudes in the eastern part. 

This research is financially supported by the Major National Scientific Research Projects (2013CBA01803), the Science Fund for Creative Research Group of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41121001) and the “Hundred Talents Program” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (51Y551831). This research was published in Chinese Science Bulletin under the title “Distribution of soil and landform relationships in the permafrost regions of Qinghai-Xizang (Tibetan) Plateau”.

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(Editor: CHEN Na)

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