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Soil, land care and environmental research

Seasonal variations in soil respiration and temperature sensitivity under three land-use types in hilly areas of the Sichuan Basin

XiaoGuo Wang A C , Bo Zhu A , MeiRong Gao A , YanQiang Wang A and XunHua Zheng B

A Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu, 610041, PR China.

B Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100029, PR China.

C Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Soil Research 46(8) 727-734
Submitted: 1 December 2007  Accepted: 1 August 2008   Published: 2 December 2008


CO2 emissions from soils were measured under 3 land-use types at the adjacent plots of forest plantation, grassland, and cropland from January 2005 to December 2006. Mean soil CO2 efflux rates measured during the 2-year study varied from 59 to 527 mg CO2/m2.h in forest plantation, 37 to 498 mg CO2/m2.h in grassland, and 32 to 397 mg CO2/m2.h in cropland. Soil respiration in the 3 types of land-use showed a similar seasonal pattern in variation during both years, in which the single-peaked curve occurred in early summer and the minimum in winter. In particular, the date of maximum soil CO2 efflux rate in cropland occurred about 30 days earlier than in forest and grassland in both 2005 and 2006. The relationship of soil respiration rate (R) with soil temperature (T ) and soil moisture (W ) fitted well to the equation R = β0eβ1TW β2 (a, b, c were constants) than other univariate models which consider soil water content or soil temperature alone. Soil temperature and soil moisture together explained 69–92% of the temporal variation in soil respiration in the 3 land-use types. Temperature sensitivity of soil respiration (Q10) was affected positively by soil moisture of top 0.1 m layer and negatively by soil temperature at 0.05 m depth. The relationship between Q10 values and soil temperature (T ) or soil moisture (W ) indicated that a 1°C increase in soil temperature at 0.05 m depth will reduce the Q10 value by 0.07, 0.05, and 0.06 in forest, grassland, and cropland, respectively. Similarly, a 1% decrease in soil moisture of the top 0.1 m layer will reduce the Q10 value by 0.10, 0.09, and 0.11 in forest, grassland, and cropland.

Additional keywords: soil respiration, Q10 value, soil temperature, soil moisture.


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