I. Situation and Environment
With a peak of 7556 m, Gongga mountain is located in the east edge of Tibetan Plateau (N 29°36’, E 101°53’) and is approximately 360 km west of Chengdu city, Sichuan, China. The Alpine Ecosystem Observation and Experiment Station of Gongga Mt. (Gongga Mt. Station), which consisted of 3 parts including Moxi Base Station (1600 m), Subalpine Ecosystem Observation Station (3600 m) and Instrumental Analysis Center in Chnegdu, is situated in Hailuogou valley, the east slope of Gongga Mt.
The regional climate in Hailuogou valley is mainly influenced by the Asian summer monsoon with an annual average temperature of 13 ºC (1600 m) to 4 ºC (3000 m) and an annual average precipitation of 1000 mm (1600 m) to 1900 mm (3000 m).
II. Research Objects
There are perfect research conditions in Gongga Mountain. Firstly, the study area in Gongga Mt. is ranked in the forefront in China, whether in terms of the mountain height, the vertical elevation difference, or the integrity of the physical geography. Secondly, Gongga Mt. is the developmental area of glacial forest in high Asian marine monsoon climate zones. The integrated ecological landscape from dry and hot valley, agricultural area, broadleaf forest, coniferous forest, alpine scrub, alpine meadow to permafrost desert, the abundant species resources, the well conserved primitive forest, and the large scaled glacier, etc., all make Gongga Mt. the ecological museum of mountainous environment. Abundance research subjects could be conducted in Gongga Mt. area.
Aim to provide scientific evidence and experimental data for the environment protection and resources utilization in mountain areas and the study of the Tibetan Plateau and global climate change, many researches concentrated on the interaction between multi-level alpine natural ecosystem and human activities have been conducted in Gongga Mt. Station. The research fields mainly include the productivity of the alpine ecosystem and its environmental effects, the effects of plateau uplift and glacier rise or fall on alpine ecosystem, the monitoring of the dynamic development of mountainous environment, and the predicting of the evolving trend of regional environment.
Mountainous vertical landscape
Studies in Gongga Mt. is helpful for disclosing the formation of Tibetan Plateau and its effects on environment, recognizing the mechanism of productivity formation of forest ecosystem in southwest China, exploring the contribution and response of alpine ecosystem to global climate change, and for enriching and developing the knowledge and theories of mountainous environmental science. It is also significant in the study of the interaction among cryosphere,biosphere and human activities. Now, many outstanding achievements in the above mentioned fields have been attained in Gongga Mt. Station. And Gongga Mt. Station has therefore become one of the important bases of mountainous ecological study due to its competitive advantages of vertical mountainous landscape.
Observation and Experimental contents
Observation and Experimental contents in Gongga Mt. Station include the observation of alpine climate gradients, the hydrological observation in forest and glacier, the dynamic observation in maritime glacier, the ecological observation in subalpine dark coniferous forest and the study in alpine environmental characters. Each of the contents contains various subcontents, which is totally more than 40 subcontents, which is significant in studying the basic characters and evolving trends of glacier-forest ecosystem in southwest of China.
In addition, the formation and prevention of mountain hazards, the evaluation and exploration of mountainous landscape resources, etc. are also studied in Gongga Mt. Station, which contributing a lot for the opening of Hailuogou national glacier-forest park and for the exploiting of tourism resources in surrounding Gongga Mountain areas.
III. Research Progress and Academic Achievements
In Gongga Mountain Station, many important and valuable scientific achievements about evolvement of mountain environment and ecological effects of forest have been accomplished. These achievements play a key role in solving ecosystem environment construction countermeasures and evaluation of effect of upstream of Yangtze River, and have some international influences.
In recent 5 years,we havecompleted three phases research of "973" special project in Gongga Mountain Station about forest ecosystem carbon cycle of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau,and found out the relationship between carbon dynamic balance and forest succession of sub-alpine forest ecosystem. Furthermore, a quantitative assessment model of carbon balance of mountain in Southwest China and a succession model of forest ecosystem were developed in Gongga Mountain Station. These researches improved our knowledge to understandthe response mechanism of forest ecosystems to global climate change, which have been published as a series of research papers.
Gongga Mountain Station has another important task. Based on the forest hydrological observation and experiment, the quantitative evaluation index system on hydrological effects of forest cover and evolution was established and a physical based forest distributed hydrological model was developed. In particular, we acquired innovational achievements about the technology of horizontalprecipitation observation in forest mountain region and the quantitative evaluation method in watershed-scale. These researches had a important scientific value for settling the problem about ecological protection and reconstruction of forest vegetation in the southwest region of China, and was favor to rationally evaluate the quality and benefit of the ecological engineering in the upper reach of the Yangtze River basin. 16 research papers have been published in domestic and foreign journals.
Furthermore, on the basis of the existing achievements, the researchers of Gongga Mountain Station advanced the basic scientific knowledge related to ecological construction in the southwest China, especially improved the knowledge on carrying out ecological environment conservation and construction rationally by enacting the ecological function ecotone. Using these achievements, we undertake the important task of ecological function zoning of the Tibet Autonomous Region and the eco-functional regionalization construction in Sanjiang Rivers which was funded by Ministry of Science and Technology of China. These researches have accomplished outstanding achievements and provided scientific schemes and data for protecting and utilizing national and regional ecological environment. These outstanding achievements are highly appraised by related regions and departments, and also provide important information for regional economy and ecologically sustainable development.
1. Soil carbon sequestration and emission in Gongga Mountain
2. Forest ecosystem nutrients cycle in Gongga Mountain
3．Forest hydrological circulation of mountain region
4. The physical mechanism of forest preserving source of water
5．The comprehensive capacity of water retention and its change of the forest ecosystem