Plant and Soil

, Volume 251, Issue 2, pp 303–317 | Cite as

Soil and total ecosystem respiration in agricultural fields: effect of soil and crop type

  • Annalea Lohila
  • Mika Aurela
  • Kristiina Regina
  • Tuomas Laurila


A study was made of the effect of soil and crop type on the soil and total ecosystem respiration rates in agricultural soils in southern Finland. The main interest was to compare the soil respiration rates in peat and two different mineral soils growing barley, grass and potato. Respiration measurements were conducted during the growing season with (1) a closed-dynamic ecosystem respiration chamber, in which combined plant and soil respiration was measured and (2) a closed-dynamic soil respiration chamber which measured only the soil and root-derived respiration. A semi-empirical model including separate functions for the soil and plant respiration components was used for the total ecosystem respiration (TER), and the resulting soil respiration parameters for different soil and crop types were compared. Both methods showed that the soil respiration in the peat soil was 2–3 times as high as that in the mineral soils, varying from 0.11 to 0.36 mg (CO2) m−2 s−1 in the peat soil and from 0.02 to 0.17 mg (CO2) m−2 s−1 in the mineral soils. The difference between the soil types was mainly attributed to the soil organic C content, which in the uppermost 20 cm of the peat soil was 24 kg m−2, being about 4 times as high as that in the mineral soils. Depending on the measurement method, the soil respiration in the sandy soil was slightly higher than or similar to that in the clay soil. In each soil type, the soil respiration was highest on the grass plots. Higher soil respiration parameter values (Rs0, describing the soil respiration at a soil temperature of 10 °C, and obtained by modelling) were found on the barley than on the potato plots. The difference was explained by the different cultivation history of the plots, as the potato plots had lain fallow during the preceding summer. The total ecosystem respiration followed the seasonal evolution in the leaf area and measured photosynthetic flux rates. The 2–3-fold peat soil respiration term as compared to mineral soil indicates that the cultivated peat soil ecosystem is a strong net CO2 source.

mineral soil peat soil soil carbon content soil respiration total ecosystem respiration 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annalea Lohila
    • 1
  • Mika Aurela
    • 1
  • Kristiina Regina
    • 2
  • Tuomas Laurila
    • 1
  1. 1.Air Quality ResearchFinnish Meteorological InstituteHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Agrifood Research Finland, Soils and Environment, MTTJokioinenFinland

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