Advertisement

International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 127–134 | Cite as

Leaf litter is an important mediator of soil respiration in an oak-dominated forest

  • Jared L. DeForestEmail author
  • Jiquan Chen
  • Steve G. McNulty
Original Paper

Abstract

The contribution of the organic (O) horizon to total soil respiration is poorly understood even though it can represent a large source of uncertainty due to seasonal changes in microclimate and O horizon properties due to plant phenology. Our objectives were to partition the CO2 effluxes of litter layer and mineral soil from total soil respiration (SR) and determine the relative importance of changing temperature and moisture mediating the fluxes. We measured respiration in an oak-dominated forest with or without the O horizon for 1 year within the Oak Openings Region of northwest Ohio. Mineral soil and O horizon respiration were subtracted from mineral soil respiration (MSR) to estimate litter respiration (LR). Measurements were grouped by oak phenology to correlate changes in plant activity with respiration. The presence of the O horizon represented a large source of seasonal variation in SR. The timing of oak phenology explained some of the large changes in both SR and LR, and their relationship with temperature and moisture. The contribution to SR of respiration from the mineral soil was greatest during pre-growth and pre-dormancy, as evident by the low LR:MSR ratios of 0.65 ± 0.10 (mean ± SE) and 0.69 ± 0.03, respectively, as compared to the other phenophases. Including moisture increased our ability to predict MSR and SR during the growth phenophase and LR for every phenophase. Temperature and moisture explained 85% of the variation in MSR, but only 60% of the variation in LR. The annual contribution of O horizon to SR was 48% and the ratio of litter to soil respiration was tightly coupled over a wide range of environmental conditions. Our results suggest the presence of the O horizon is a major mediator of SR.

Keywords

Litter Oak openings Phenology Soil respiration Temporal variation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The Southern Global Change Program of the USDA Forest Service supported this research. This research was partially supported by the US-China Carbon Consortium (USCCC). Thanks to Sally Betz and Milene Benedict of LEES Lab for assistance in field sampling, and Qinglin Li and Asko Noormets for helpful discussions on the experimental design and site maintenance. We acknowledge the helpful comments made by two anonymous reviewers that improved the quality of this paper.

References

  1. Boone RD, Nadelhoffer KJ, Canary JD, Kaye JP (1998) Roots exert a strong influence on the temperature sensitivity of soil respiration. Nature 396:570–572. doi: 10.1038/25119 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Borken W, Davidson EA, Savage K, Gaudinski J, Trumbore SE (2003) Drying and wetting effects on carbon dioxide release from organic horizons. Soil Sci Soc Am J 67:1888–1896Google Scholar
  3. Brewer LG, Vankat JL (2004) Description of vegetation of the Oak Openings of northwestern Ohio at the time of Euro-American settlement. Ohio J Sci 104:76–85Google Scholar
  4. Brooks PD, McKnight D, Elder K (2005) Carbon limitation of soil respiration under winter snowpacks: potential feedbacks between growing season and winter carbon fluxes. Glob Change Biol 11:231–238. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2004.00877.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen JQ, Saunders SC, Crow TR, Naiman RJ, Brosofske KD, Mroz GD, Brookshire BL, Franklin JF (1999) Microclimate in forest ecosystem and landscape ecology—variations in local climate can be used to monitor and compare the effects of different management regimes. Bioscience 49:288–297. doi: 10.2307/1313612 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen J, Brosofske KD, Noormets A, Crow TR, Bresee MK, Le Moine JM, Euskirchen ES, Mather SV, Zheng D (2004) A working framework for quantifying carbon sequestration in disturbed land mosaics. Environ Manage 33:S210–S221. doi: 10.1007/s00267-003-9131-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davidson EA, Belk E, Boone RD (1998) Soil water content and temperature as independent or confounded factors controlling soil respiration in a temperate mixed hardwood forest. Glob Change Biol 4:217–227. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2486.1998.00128.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. DeForest JL, Noormets A, McNulty SG, Sun G, Tenney G, Chen JQ (2006) Phenophases alter the soil respiration-temperature relationship in an oak-dominated forest. Int J Biometeorol 51:135–144. doi: 10.1007/s00484-006-0046-7 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Granier A, Ceschia E, Damesin C, Dufrene E, Epron D, Gross P, Lebaube S, Le Dantec V, Le Goff N, Lemoine D, Lucot E, Ottorini JM, Pontailler JY, Saugier B (2000) The carbon balance of a young beech forest. Funct Ecol 14:312–325. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2435.2000.00434.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hanson PJ, Wullschleger SD, Bohlman SA, Todd DE (1993) Seasonal and topographic patterns of forest floor CO2 efflux from an upland oak forest. Tree Physiol 13:1–15PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Hanson PJ, Edwards NT, Garten CT, Andrews JA (2000) Separating root and soil microbial contributions to soil respiration: A review of methods and observations. Biogeochemistry 48:115–146. doi: 10.1023/A:1006244819642 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hanson PJ, O’Neill EG, Chambers MLS, Riggs JS, Joslin JD, Wolfe MH (2003) Soil respiration and litter decomposition. In: Hanson PJ, Wullschleger SD (eds) North American temperate deciduous forest responses to changing precipitation regimes. Springer, New York, pp 163–189Google Scholar
  13. Hanson PJ, Amthor JS, Wullschleger SD, Wilson KB, Grant RE, Hartley A, Hui D, Hunt ER, Johnson DW, Kimball JS, King AW, Luo Y, McNulty SG, Sun G, Thornton PE, Wang S, Williams M, Baldocchi DD, Cushman RM (2004) Oak forest carbon and water simulations: model intercomparisons and evaluations against independent data. Ecol Monogr 74:443–489. doi: 10.1890/03-4049 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Janssens IA, Pilegaard K (2003) Large seasonal changes in Q(10) of soil respiration in a beech forest. Glob Change Biol 9:911–918. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2486.2003.00636.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Law BE, Falge E, Gu L, Baldocchi DD, Bakwin P, Berbigier P, Davis K, Dolman AJ, Falk M, Fuentes JD, Goldstein A, Granier A, Grelle A, Hollinger D, Janssens IA, Jarvis P, Jensen NO, Katul G, Mahli Y, Matteucci G, Meyers T, Monson R, Munger W, Oechel W, Olson R, Pilegaard K, Paw KT, Thorgeirsson H, Valentini R, Verma S, Vesala T, Wilson K, Wofsy S (2002) Environmental controls over carbon dioxide and water vapor exchange of terrestrial vegetation. Agric For Meteorol 113:97–120. doi: 10.1016/S0168-1923(02)00104-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lee MS, Nakane K, Nakatsubo T, Koizumi H (2003) Seasonal changes in the contribution of root respiration to total soil respiration in a cool-temperate deciduous forest. Plant Soil 255:311–318. doi: 10.1023/A:1026192607512 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lloyd J, Taylor JA (1994) On the Temperature-Dependence of Soil Respiration. Funct Ecol 8:315–323. doi: 10.2307/2389824 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ma CJ, Tohno S, Kasahara M (2005) A case study of the size-resolved individual particles collected at a ground-based site on the west coast of Japan during an Asian dust storm event. Atmos Environ 39:739–747CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Moseley E (1928) Flora Oak Openings Ohio. Acad Sci 20:79–134Google Scholar
  20. Noormets A, McNulty SG, DeForest JL, Sun G, Li Q, Chen J (2008) Drought during canopy development has lasting effect on annual carbon balance in a deciduous temperate forest. New Phytol 179:818–828. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02501.x PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sanderman J, Amundson RG, Baldocchi DD (2003) Application of eddy covariance measurements to the temperature dependence of soil organic matter mean residence time. Global Biogeochem Cycles 17:15. doi: 10.1029/2001GB001833 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Schimel DS (1995) Terrestrial ecosystems and the carbon-cycle. Glob Change Biol 1:77–91. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.1995.tb00008.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sulzman EW, Brant JB, Bowden RD, Lajtha K (2005) Contribution of aboveground litter, belowground litter, and rhizosphere respiration to total soil CO2 efflux in an old growth coniferous forest. Biogeochemistry 73:231–256. doi: 10.1007/s10533-004-7314-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Tang JW, Baldocchi DD, Xu L (2005) Tree photosynthesis modulates soil respiration on a diurnal time scale. Glob Change Biol 11:1298–1304. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2005.00978.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Uchida M, Mo W, Nakatsubo T, Tsuchiya Y, Horikoshi T, Koizumi H (2005) Microbial activity and litter decomposition under snow cover in a cool-temperate broad-leaved deciduous forest. Agric For Meteorol 134:102–109. doi: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2005.11.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Yuste JC, Janssens IA, Carrara A, Ceulemans R (2004) Annual Q(10) of soil respiration reflects plant phenological patterns as well as temperature sensitivity. Glob Change Biol 10:161–169. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.2003.00727.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ISB 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jared L. DeForest
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jiquan Chen
    • 2
  • Steve G. McNulty
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Plant BiologyOhio UniversityAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of ToledoToledoUSA
  3. 3.Southern Global Change ProgramUSDA Forest ServiceRaleighUSA

Personalised recommendations