Heterotrophic Soil Respiration in Relation to Environmental Factors and Microbial Biomass in Two Wet Tropical Forests
We examined the correlation between fungal and bacterial biomass, abiotic factors such as soil moisture, carbon in the light soil fraction and soil nitrogen to a depth of 0–25 cm and heterotrophic soil respiration using a trenching technique – in a secondary forest (Myrcia splendens, Miconia prasina and Casearia arborea) and a pine (Pinus caribeae) plantation in the Luquillo Experimental Forest in Puerto Rico. Soil respiration was significantly reduced where roots were excluded for 7 years in both the secondary forest and the pine plantation. Microbial biomass was also significantly reduced in the root exclusion plots. In root exclusion treatment, total fungal biomass was on average 31 and 65% lower than the control plots in the pine plantation and the secondary forest, respectively, but the total bacterial biomass was 24 and 8.3% lower than the control plots in the pine plantation and the secondary forest, respectively. Heterotrophic soil respiration was positively correlated with fungal biomass (R2=0.63, R2=0.39), bacterial biomass (R2=0.16, R2=0.45), soil moisture (R2=0.41, R2=0.56), carbon in light fraction (R2=0.45, R2=0.39) and total nitrogen (R2=0.69, R2=0.67) in the pine plantation and the secondary forest, respectively. The regression analysis suggested that fungal biomass might have a greater influence on heterotrophic soil respiration in the pine plantation, while the bacterial biomass might have a greater influence in the secondary forest. Heterotrophic soil respiration was more sensitive to total N than to carbon in the light fraction, and soil moisture was a major factor influencing heterotrophic soil respiration in these forests where temperature is high and relatively invariable.
Keywordsmicrobial biomass nitrogen plantation soil CO2 efflux soil moisture tropical forests
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