Overview of different classification systems of grassland types in China
- Four ecosystem types: meadow steppe, typical steppe, desert steppe and alpine steppe (Fig.1a). In this classification, alpine steppe is included, but alpine meadow is not.
- Two sub-regions: temperate and alpine grassland regions with several subunits (Fig. 1b), based on vegetation and vegetation regionalization maps of China, and two periods of land use maps of China in 1980s and 2005. Notice that based on the map, the legend terms for temperate grassland region here might actually refer to temperate meadow steppe, temperate typical steppe and temperate desert steppe as temperate desert covers much larger areas than what is shown here.
- Mongolian and Tibetan sub-regions: Forest steppes, grass steppes, desert steppes, alpine steppes and alpine meadows (Fig. 1c).
- Temperate and alpine grassland regions: temperate grassland region includes temperate meadow steppes, temperate typical steppes, temperate desert steppes and temperate mountain grasslands, and alpine grasslands include alpine steppes and meadows (Fig. 1d, Li et al. 2019). The area of desert steppe in this map is smaller than that shown in Fig. 1c, because in most Chinese literature, vegetation types that are dominated by xero- shrub species are named as desert, while desert steppes are grass-dominated. But desert steppe in Fig. 1c covers a proportion of dwarf and low-growing shrubs (Wesche et al., 2016).
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