Journal of Biosciences

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 375–384

Contribution of root to soil respiration and carbon balance in disturbed and undisturbed grassland communities, northeast China


DOI: 10.1007/s12038-007-0036-x

Cite this article as:
Wang, W., Guo, J. & Oikawa, T. J Biosci (2007) 32: 375. doi:10.1007/s12038-007-0036-x


Changes in the composition of plant species induced by grassland degradation may alter soil respiration rates and decrease carbon sequestration; however, few studies in this area have been conducted. We used net primary productivity (NPP), microbial biomass carbon (MBC), and soil organic carbon (SOC) to examine the changes in soil respiration and carbon balance in two Chinese temperate grassland communities dominated by Leymus chinensis (undisturbed community; Community 1) and Puccinellia tenuiflora (degraded community; Community 2), respectively. Soil respiration varied from 2.5 to 11.9 g CO2 m−2 d−1 and from 1.5 to 9.3 g CO2 m−2 d−1, and the contribution of root respiration to total soil respiration from 38% to 76% and from 25% to 72% in Communities 1 and 2, respectively. During the growing season (May–September), soil respiration, shoot biomass, live root biomass, MBC and SOC in Community 2 decreased by 28%, 39%, 45%, 55% and 29%, respectively, compared to those in Community 1. The considerably lower net ecosystem productivity in Community 2 than in Community 1 (104.56 vs. 224.73 g C m−2 yr−1) suggests that the degradation has significantly decreased carbon sequestration of the ecosystems.


Grassland ecosystemroot respirationsoil respirationseasonal changecarbon sequestration

Abbreviations used


above-ground net primary productivity


below-ground net primary productivity


microbial biomass carbon


microbial respiration


net ecosystem production


net primary productivity


soil organic carbon

Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Urban and Environmental SciencesNortheast Normal UniversityJilinChina
  2. 2.Department of Ecology, College of Environmental Sciences, and Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of EducationPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory for Vegetation Ecology of the Ministry of EducationNortheast Normal UniversityJilinChina
  4. 4.Institute of Biological SciencesUniversity of TsukubaIbarakiJapan