, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 209–230 | Cite as

Calibration and validation of an empirical approach to model soil CO2 efflux in a deciduous forest



Soil respiration (Rs) was monitored periodically throughout 2001 and 2003 in a pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.) stand located in the Belgian Campine region. An empirical model originally developed for a neighboring pine stand, that accounts for variation in temperature, soil moisture, rewetting of the surface layers by rain during dry periods and seasonal fresh litter inputs, was fitted to the data. The model explained 92% and 94% of the temporal variability in Rs during 2001 and 2003 respectively. Monthly measurements of Rs can suffice to build a robust empirical model if temperature is the main controlling factor. However, during the driest period of the year a weekly sampling schedule was needed to capture the combined effect of temperature, soil water content (SWC) and the short-term effect of rewetting played. Although the model was developed for gap-filling purposes it also showed a remarkable predictive ability for this site and these conditions. Annual emissions of carbon (C) estimated with the model were significantly higher in 2001 than in 2003 (7.8 and 5.9 ton C ha−1 year−1, respectively). The severe drought during most of the growing season in 2003 caused a high fine root mortality and a decrease in microbial activity, and was likely the main responsible factor of the almost 2 ton C ha−1 year−1 differences in Rs between both years. Pulses of Rs during drying/rewetting cycles accounted for a substantial fraction of the total flux, especially during the driest year. Finally, our results show that quality of the substrate may play an important role in both the intensity of the rewetting pulses of CO2 and the seasonality of Rs.


Drought effect Empirical model Fresh litter seasonality effect Hysteresis Pedunculate oak Q10 Rewetting effect 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Research Group of Plant and Vegetation EcologyUniversity of Antwerp (UA)WilrijkBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science Policy and Management and Berkeley Atmospheric Science Center, Ecosystems Science DivisionUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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