Plant and Soil

, Volume 394, Issue 1–2, pp 343–353 | Cite as

Effects of continuous drought stress on soil respiration in a tropical rainforest in southwest China

  • Xiang Zhang
  • Yiping ZhangEmail author
  • Liqing Sha
  • Chuansheng Wu
  • Zhenghong Tan
  • Qinghai Song
  • Yuntong Liu
  • Liyuan Dong
Regular Article


Background and aims

Drought is predicted to have a profound impact on soil respiration. This study aimed to assess the effects of long-term precipitation decrease on soil respiration in a tropical rainforest.


A precipitation reduction experiment was conducted in a tropical forest in southwest China at the beginning of 2011. Soil respiration and environmental parameters were measured monthly for three years.


The continuous precipitation reduction treatment did not affect the seasonal patterns of soil respiration, but it significantly increased soil respiration in the study plot during the rainy season, and the relationship between soil respiration and soil moisture differed in the control and reduction treatment in the rainy season. Compared with the net ecosystem exchange of carbon in this system, the increment of annual soil carbon emissions in the reduction treatment was considerable and should not be ignored.


Our results indicate that the responses of soil respiration to precipitation decrease may vary seasonally and the variation of volumetric water content in different seasons may be an important factor leading to the seasonal variation. The variation of soil moisture among different ecosystems as well as in different seasons should be taken into consideration when predicting the future response of soil respiration to drought globally.


Throughfall reduction Soil CO2 efflux Soil water content Tropical rainforest 



We thank two anonymous reviewers, Wenjun Zhou and Jing Zhu for comments and assistance in improving this manuscript. We also appreciate the members of the Global Change Ecology Group for their assistance with the collection of field data. This project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (U1202234, 41271056, 41071071), the “Strategic Priority Research Program” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA05050601, XDA05050206) and the CAS 135 project (XTBG-F01). This work was also supported by Xishuangbanna Station for Tropical Rain Forest Ecosystem Studies and the Biogeochemistry Laboratory of the Public Technology Service Center of XTBG.

Supplementary material

11104_2015_2523_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (155 kb)
Table S1 (PDF 155 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiang Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yiping Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Liqing Sha
    • 1
  • Chuansheng Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhenghong Tan
    • 1
  • Qinghai Song
    • 1
  • Yuntong Liu
    • 1
  • Liyuan Dong
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesMenglaChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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