Title: Components, drivers and temporal dynamic of ecosystem respiration in a Mediterranean pine forest.
Citation: SOIL BIOLOGY & BIOCHEMISTRY vol. 88 p. 224-235
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC95834
ISSN: 0038-0717
URI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2015.05.017
DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2015.05.017
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: To investigate the climate impacts on the different components of ecosystem respiration we combined soil efflux data from a tree-girdling experiment with eddy covariance CO2 fluxes in a Mediterranean maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) forest in Central Italy. 73 trees were stem girdled to stop the flux of photosynthates from the canopy to the roots and weekly soil respiration surveys were carried out for one year. Heterotrophic respiration (RH) was estimated from the soil CO2 flux measured in girdled plots and rhizosphere respiration (RAb) was calculated as the difference between respiration from controls (RS) and girdled plots (RH).(RAb) was calculated as the difference between respiration from controls (RS) and girdled plots (RH). Results show that RS dynamic was clearly driven by RH (average RH/RS ratio 0.74). RH predictably responded to environmental variables, with an evident decoupled control of soil water availability during the hot and dry growing season (May – October) and soil temperature during the wetter and colder months (November – March). High RS and RH peaks were recorded after rain pulses larger than 10mm on dry soil, indicating that large soil carbon pulses were driven by the rapid microbial oxidation of labile carbon compounds. We also observed a time-lag of one week between water pulses and RAb peaks, which might be due to the delay in the translocation of recently assimilated photosynthates from the canopy to the root system. At the ecosystem scale, total autotrophic respiration (RAt, i.e. the sum of carbon respired by rhizosphere and aboveground biomass) amounted to 60% of the ecosystem respiration. RAt was prevalently controlled by photosynthesis and showed a high temperature sensitivity (Q10) only during the wet periods. Despite the study coincided with an anomalous dry year and results might not represent a general pattern, these data highlight the complex climatic control on the respiratory processes responsible for the ecosystem CO2 emissions.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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