Plant and Soil

, Volume 381, Issue 1–2, pp 215–224 | Cite as

Influence of interactions between litter decomposition and rhizosphere activity on soil respiration and on the temperature sensitivity in a subtropical montane forest in SW China

  • Chuansheng Wu
  • Yiping Zhang
  • Xingliang Xu
  • Liqing ShaEmail author
  • Guangyong You
  • Yuhong Liu
  • Youneng Xie
Regular Article



The aims were to identify the effects of interactions between litter decomposition and rhizosphere activity on soil respiration and on the temperature sensitivity of soil respiration in a subtropical forest in SW China.


Four treatments were established: control (CK), litter removal (NL), trenching (NR) and trenching together with litter removal (NRNL). Soil CO2 efflux, soil temperature, and soil water content were measured once a month over two years. Soil respiration was divided into four components: the decomposition of basic soil organic matter (SOM), litter respiration, root respiration, and the interaction effect between litter decomposition and rhizosphere activity. A two-factor regression equation was used to correct the value of soil CO2 efflux.


We found a significant effect of the interaction between litter decomposition and rhizosphere activity (R INT) on total soil respiration, and R INT exhibited significant seasonal variation, accounting for 26 and 31 % of total soil respiration in the dry and rainy seasons, respectively. However, we found no significant interaction effect on the temperature sensitivity of soil respiration. The temperature sensitivity was significantly increased by trenching compared with the control, but was unchanged by litter removal.


Though the interaction between litter decomposition and rhizosphere activity had no effects on temperature sensitivity, it had a significant positive effect on soil respiration. Our results not only showed strong influence of rhizosphere activity on temperature sensitivity, but provided a viable way to identify the contribution of SOM to soil respiration, which could help researchers gain insights on the carbon cycle.


Q10 Root respiration Litter respiration Soil organic matter decomposition Soil respiration 



We thank Mr. Wenzheng Yang and Mr. Xin Luo for their careful observations and measurements. This study was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of Yunnan Province, China (2011FA025), the Development Program in Basic Science of China (2010CB833501-01-07), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, (XDA05050601-01-05; XDA05050206), and the National Science Foundation of China (31290221). We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments in improving this paper.

Supplementary material

11104_2014_2106_Fig7_ESM.jpg (810 kb)
Fig. S1

The process of trenching. (JPEG 809 kb)

11104_2014_2106_Fig8_ESM.jpg (5.3 mb)
Fig. S2

The relationship of soil CO2 efflux with soil temperature and soil water content for each subplot. Parameters (a, b), R2, and p values estimated from regression model (R = a * T * W + b). (JPEG 5390 kb)

11104_2014_2106_Fig9_ESM.jpg (2.6 mb)
Fig. S3

Seasonal variability in soil CO2 effluxes of the four treatments (both measured and modeled data). (JPEG 2653 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chuansheng Wu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Yiping Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Xingliang Xu
    • 5
  • Liqing Sha
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Guangyong You
    • 6
  • Yuhong Liu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Youneng Xie
    • 7
  1. 1.Key laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesMenglaChina
  2. 2.Ailaoshan Station for Subtropical Forest Ecosystem StudiesJingdongChina
  3. 3.National Forest Ecosystem Research Station at AilaoshanJingdongChina
  4. 4.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.Key laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modelling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  6. 6.Nanjing Institute of Environmental SciencesMinistry of Environmental ProtectionNanjingChina
  7. 7.Jingdong Bureau of National Nature ReserveJingdongChina

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