, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 109-125

Forest soil respiration across three climatically distinct chronosequences in Oregon

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Abstract.

To assess the relative influence of edaphoclimatic gradients and stand replacing disturbance on the soil respiration of Oregon forests, we measured annual soil respiration at 36 independent forest plots arranged as three replicates of four age classes in each of three climatically distinct forest types. Annual soil respiration for the year 2001 was computed by combining periodic chamber measurements with continuous soil temperature measurements, which were used along with site-specific temperature response curves to interpolate daily soil respiration between dates of direct measurement. Results indicate significant forest type, age, and type × age interaction effects on annual soil respiration. Average annual soil respiration was 1100–1600, 1500–2100, and 500–900 g C m−2 yr−1 for mesic spruce, montane Douglas-fir, and semi-arid pine forests respectively. Age related trends in annual soil respiration varied between forest types. The variation in annual soil respiration attributable to the climatic differences between forest types was 48%(CV). Once weighted by the age class distribution for each forest type, the variation in annual soil respiration attributable to stand replacing disturbance was 15%(CV). Sensitivity analysis suggests that the regional variation in annual soil respiration is most dependent on summer base rates (i.e. soil respiration normalized to a common temperature) and much less dependent on the site-specific temperature response curves (to which annual rates are relatively insensitive) and soil degree-days (which vary only 10% among plots).