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Relationship between the carbon isotope composition of grassland plant communities and altitude in Barkol, Xinjiang province, China

Liu Quanjun and Chen Yn

Several environmental factors potentially influence the stable isotope composition of plants. Identifying the relationship between the stable carbon isotope composition (δ13C) of plants and soils along altitudinal gradients is important in the context of reconstructing past climates. In this study, we investigated the patterns of δ13C variation among plant leaves and along an altitudinal gradient (1597~2137 m a.s.l.) in the Barkol area of Xinjiang Province, China. At the community level, leaf δ13C values decreased with increasing altitude while root δ13C values had no significant relationship with altitude. We infer that the lower leaf δ13C values at high altitudes were related to variations in humidity conditions and atmospheric pressure.

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