Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 10–22 | Cite as

Spatial patterns of soil respiration in a spruce-fir valley forest, Northeast China

  • Mengguang Han
  • Baoku Shi
  • Guangze JinEmail author
Soils, Sec 1 • Soil Organic Matter Dynamics and Nutrient Cycling • Research Article



The quantification of spatial patterns of soil respiration (RS) is an important step in modelling soil carbon budgets. This study aims to characterise the spatial variability of RS using traditional and geostatistical analyses in a mature temperate forest during the growing season, with emphases on temporal variation in the spatial patterns and soil properties and stand structural parameters driving the variability of RS.

Materials and methods

RS, soil temperature and soil water content were sampled at 780 positions in a 9.12-ha permanent plot in a spruce-fir valley forest in the spring, summer and autumn of 2015. Furthermore, edaphic properties were measured adjacent to each sampling point, and all trees with DBH (diameter at breast height of tree) greater than 1 cm were mapped in the plot.

Results and discussion

RS showed strong spatial variation across the three measurement campaigns, with the autocorrelation length ranging from 10 to 17 m. The spatial variability of RS in the spring period was relatively higher than that of summer and autumn. Soil water content was confirmed to be the primary factor driving spatial RS, followed by soil temperature, soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, C:N, pH and the maximum DBH within radius of 4 m of sampling points. The multiple regression model fitted by soil properties and stand structural parameters could account for 11–32% of the spatial variation of RS. However, the involved factors in the regression model varied with season, and soil temperature was more important in controlling the spatial variability of RS in the spring period.


The study highlights that soil water content and soil temperature play the most important role in determining the spatial patterns of RS across the growing season.


Edaphic properties Soil moisture Soil respiration Soil temperature Spatial variability Temporal change Tree size 



This work was financially supported by Fundamental Research Funds for Central Universities (2572017EA02) and the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in Universities (IRT_15R09). We are grateful to the comments and suggestions from the editor and two anonymous reviewers. We would like to express gratitude to our colleagues who provided assistance with the field work.

Supplementary material

11368_2018_2018_MOESM1_ESM.docx (144 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 144 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Ecological ResearchNortheast Forestry UniversityHarbinPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory for Vegetation Ecology, Ministry of Education, Institute of Grassland ScienceNortheast Normal UniversityChangchunPeople’s Republic of China

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