, Volume 174, Issue 3, pp 1045–1054

Consistent proportional increments in responses of belowground net primary productivity to long-term warming and clipping at various soil depths in a tallgrass prairie

Global change ecology - Original research

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-013-2828-z

Cite this article as:
Xu, X., Luo, Y., Shi, Z. et al. Oecologia (2014) 174: 1045. doi:10.1007/s00442-013-2828-z


Root distribution patterns in soil are critical to understanding the interactions between climate and vegetation. However, it is not clear how climate change and land use practices affect belowground net primary productivity (BNPP) at various soil depths. In order to explore the effects of warming and clipping on root-distribution patterns along soil profile (0–15, 15–30, and 30–45 cm), we conducted a field experiment from 2005 to 2010 in a tallgrass prairie. We used infrared heaters to elevate soil temperature by approximately 2 °C and annual clipping to mimic hay harvest. Results showed that roots were not evenly distributed through the soil profile. On average across treatments and years, 53 and 83 % of the BNPP to 45 cm was distributed in the top 15- and 30-cm soil layers, respectively. Warming- and clipping-induced increases in BNPP were distributed to different soil depths at the proportions similar to those of BNPP. The proportional distribution of BNPP at various soil depths to total BNPP (0–45 cm) was little affected by warming, clipping, and their interactions, resulting in non-significant changes in the distribution of BNPP through the soil profile. These findings suggest that the proportionally vertical distribution of BNPP may remain stable even when the amount of BNPP changes simultaneously in response to climate change and land use practices.


Belowground net primary productivityTallgrass prairieSoil depthWarmingClipping

Supplementary material

442_2013_2828_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1867 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xia Xu
    • 1
  • Yiqi Luo
    • 1
  • Zheng Shi
    • 1
  • Xuhui Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dejun Li
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Plant BiologyUniversity of OklahomaNormanUSA
  2. 2.Coastal Ecosystems Research Station of Yangtze River Estuary, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological EngineeringThe Institute of Biodiversity Science, and Research Institute of the Changing Global Environment, Fudan UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.China Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of SciencesChangshaChina