Soil respiration in a northeastern US temperate forest: a 22-year synthesis Journal Article


Authors: Giasson, M-A; Ellison, A. M.; Bowden, R. D.; Crill, P. M.; Davidson, E. A.; Drake, J. E.; Frey, S. D.; Hadley, J. L.; Lavine, M.; Melillo, J. M.; Munger, J. W.; Nadelhoffer, K. J.; Nicoll, L.; Ollinger, S. V.; Savage, K. E.; Steudler, P. A.; Tang, J.; Varner, R. K.; Wofsy, S. C.; Foster, D. R.; Finzi, A. C.
Article Title: Soil respiration in a northeastern US temperate forest: a 22-year synthesis
Abstract: To better understand how forest management, phenology, vegetation type, and actual and simulated climatic change affect seasonal and inter-annual variations in soil respiration (R-s), we analyzed more than 100,000 individual measurements of soil respiration from 23 studies conducted over 22 years at the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts, USA. We also used 24 site-years of eddy-covariance measurements from two Harvard Forest sites to examine the relationship between soil and ecosystem respiration (R-e). R-s was highly variable at all spatial (respiration collar to forest stand) and temporal (minutes to years) scales of measurement. The response of R-s to experimental manipulations mimicking aspects of global change or aimed at partitioning R-s into component fluxes ranged from similar to 70% to +52%. The response appears to arise from variations in substrate availability induced by changes in the size of soil C pools and of belowground C fluxes or in environmental conditions. In some cases (e.g., logging, warming), the effect of experimental manipulations on R-s was transient, but in other cases the time series were not long enough to rule out long-term changes in respiration rates. Inter-annual variations in weather and phenology induced variation among annual R-s estimates of a magnitude similar to that of other drivers of global change (i.e., invasive insects, forest management practices, N deposition). At both eddy-covariance sites, aboveground respiration dominated R-e early in the growing season, whereas belowground respiration dominated later. Unusual aboveground respiration patterns-high apparent rates of respiration during winter and very low rates in mid-to-late summer-at the Environmental Measurement Site suggest either bias in R-s and R-e estimates caused by differences in the spatial scale of processes influencing fluxes, or that additional research on the hard-to-measure fluxes (e.g., wintertime R-s, unaccounted losses of CO2 from eddy covariance sites), daytime and nighttime canopy respiration and its impacts on estimates of R-e, and independent measurements of flux partitioning (e.g., aboveground plant respiration, isotopic partitioning) may yield insight into the unusually high and low fluxes. Overall, however, this data-rich analysis identifies important seasonal and experimental variations in R-s and R-e and in the partitioning of R-e above-vs. belowground.
Keywords: ORGANIC-MATTER; TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS; FOREST; ecosystem respiration; phenology; SOIL RESPIRATION; MICROBIAL RESPIRATION; CARBON EXCHANGE; Harvard Forest; CENTRAL NEW-ENGLAND; Eddy covariance; MIXED HARDWOOD FOREST; CHRONIC NITROGEN ADDITIONS; LONG-TERM; flux partitioning; TOTAL ECOSYSTEM RESPIRATION; HARVARD
Journal Title: Ecosphere
Volume: 4
Issue: 11
ISSN: 2150-8925
Publisher: Ecological Society of America  
Publication Place: WASHINGTON; 1990 M STREET NW, STE 700, WASHINGTON, DC 20036 USA
Date Published: 2013
DOI/URL:
Notes: PT: J; TC: 0; UT: WOS:000327380900008