Advances in Earth Science ›› 2011, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (11): 1208-1216. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2011.11.1208

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Typical Types of Vegetation and Erosion in the Yalutsangpo Basin

Wang Zhaoyin 1, Gong Tongliang 2, Shi Wenjing 1   

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing100084, China;
    2. Water Resources Department of Tibet Autonomous Region, Lasa850000, China
  • Received:2011-08-08 Revised:2011-10-07 Online:2011-11-10 Published:2011-11-10

Wang Zhaoyin, Gong Tongliang, Shi Wenjing. Typical Types of Vegetation and Erosion in the Yalutsangpo Basin[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2011, 26(11): 1208-1216.

Various types of vegetation and erosion occur in the Yalutsangpo (Brahmaputra) River Basin. Field investigation was carried out in 2009 and 2010 studying the relation between the typical types of vegetation and erosion and the distributions of vegetation and erosion along the elevation. An alpine mat vegetation develops on the mountains with altitude over 4 000 m, with a coverage over 90% but a vegetation thickness of only 1~3 cm. The river valleys in the west part of the Yalutsangpo and the Lhasa River are very dry with low precipitation and high evaporation. Poor vegetation develops in the dry valleys and water erosion and aeolian erosion occur. In the great Yalutsaangpo Canyon subtropical vegetation with coverage of almost 100% and highest vegetation thickness controls all forms of water erosion and aeolian erosion. Nevertheless, riverbed incision causes very intensive gravitational erosion, with main forms of avalanches and landslides. Sclerophyllous forest grows in glacial gullies and moraine fans. The vegetation thickness increases from 2 cm in mountains of elevation of 5 200 m to 350 cm in the grand canyon of elevation of less than 2 000 m. The taxa richness, or the number of species, and the vegetation coverage is extremely low in the dry valleys at elevation of 3 000~3 500 m, and increase with both increasing and decreasing elevation. The richness and coverage reach the highest for the subtropical vegetation and for the alpine mat vegetation.

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