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Effect of plateau pika disturbance on the ecosystem services of alpine grasslands
  • +2
  • Ying Ying Chen,
  • Huan Yang,
  • Gen Sheng Bao,
  • Xiao Pan Pang,
  • Zheng Gang Guo
Ying Ying Chen
Lanzhou University
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Huan Yang
Lanzhou University
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Gen Sheng Bao
Qinghai University
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Xiao Pan Pang
Lanzhou University
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Zheng Gang Guo
State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-ecosystems
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Abstract

Herbivore disturbance can affect the grassland ecosystem services though creating extensive disturbances vegetation and soil. This study focused on plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae) disturbance to investigate the effect of disturbance by small burrowing herbivores on ecosystem services of alpine grasslands though five sites. In this study, the palatable plant biomass, plant species richness, soil water storage, soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium stocks were used to estimate the forage availability, biodiversity conservation, water conservation, carbon sequestration and soil nutrient maintenance. This study showed that plateau pika disturbance was related to higher plant species richness and soil organic carbon stock, associated with lower palatable plant biomass and soil water storage, and had no effect on total potassium stock, whereas the responses of soil total nitrogen and phosphorus stocks to plateau pika disturbance were different among sites. The palatable plant biomass, plant species richness, soil organic carbon, total nitrogen and phosphorus stocks showed downward parabolas, whereas the soil water storage showed a decreasing trend with increasing plateau pika disturbance intensity. These results indicated that the role of plateau pikas is dependent not only on the management target of alpine grasslands but also on the plateau pika disturbance intensity.