, Volume 111, Issue 1–3, pp 377–392 | Cite as

A geostatistical approach to the field-scale pattern of heterotrophic soil CO2 emission using covariates

  • M. Herbst
  • L. Bornemann
  • A. Graf
  • G. Welp
  • H. Vereecken
  • W. Amelung


Soil heterotrophic respiration fluxes at field scale may exhibit a substantial spatial variability. The aim of this study was (1) to elucidate the role of soil temperature and different carbon fractions on heterotrophic soil respiration and (2) to test by which of three different statistical approaches (multiple regression, external drift kriging and simulated annealing) such influences may be best represented. Chamber-based measurements of respiration fluxes were carried out within a 180 × 40 m bare soil plot. Soil temperature was measured simultaneously to the flux measurements. Further, we recorded total soil organic carbon content, apparent electrical conductivity as well as mid-infrared spectroscopy-based carbon fractions as co-variates in addition to basic soil properties like stone content and texture. A stepwise multiple linear regression procedure was used to spatially predict bare soil respiration from the co-variates. The results showed that the particulate organic matter (POM) fraction and terrain elevation were able to explain the spatial pattern of heterotrophic soil respiration (R 2 = 0.45). In a second step we applied external drift kriging to determine the improvement of using co-variates in an estimation procedure in comparison to ordinary kriging. The maximum relative improvement using the co-variates in terms of the root mean square error was 16%. In a third step we applied simulated annealing to perform stochastic simulations conditioned with external drift kriging to generate more realistic spatial patterns of heterotrophic respiration at plot scale. The conditional stochastic simulations revealed a significantly improved reproduction of the probability density function, the G-statistics value increased from 0.36 to 0.92. Further, the error in the reproduction of the semivariogram of the original point data decreased by more than one order of magnitude. All this confirmed that the mapping of soil respiration patterns may be significantly improved when considering terrain elevation and spatial heterogeneity of POM in combination with a conditional stochastic simulation.


Carbon fractions Heterotrophic respiration CO2 efflux Spatial variability Carbon Pools 



This research was supported by the German Research Foundation DFG (Transregional Collaborative Research Centre 32—Patterns in Soil–Vegetation–Atmosphere Systems: Monitoring, modelling and data assimilation). Alexander Graf would like to thank the DFG for funding within the project “Links between local scale and catchment scale measurements and modelling of gas exchange processes over land surfaces”. Thanks to R. Harms and M. Hank for the help with some of the measurements.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Herbst
    • 1
  • L. Bornemann
    • 2
  • A. Graf
    • 1
  • G. Welp
    • 2
  • H. Vereecken
    • 1
  • W. Amelung
    • 2
  1. 1.Agrosphere Institute, IBG-3, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbHJülichGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation—Soil ScienceBonnGermany

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