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Journal Article

Components of forest soil CO2 efflux estimated from Delta 14C values of soil organic matter


Churkina,  Galina
Department Biogeochemical Systems, Prof. M. Heimann, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Rodeghiero, M., Churkina, G., Martinez, C., Scholten, T., Gianelle, D., & Cescatti, A. (2013). Components of forest soil CO2 efflux estimated from Delta 14C values of soil organic matter. Plant and Soil, 364(1-2), 55-68. doi:10.1007/s11104-012-1309-1.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-CA61-D
Aims The partitioning of the total soil CO2 efflux into its two main components: respiration from roots (and root-associated organisms) and microbial respiration (by means of soil organic matter (SOM) and litter decomposition), is a major need in soil carbon dynamics studies in order to understand if a soil is a net sink or source of carbon. Methods The heterotrophic component of the CO2 efflux was estimated for 11 forest sites as the ratio between the carbon stocks of different SOM pools and previously published (Δ14C derived) turnover times. The autotrophic component, including root and rootassociated respiration, was calculated the heterotrophic component from total soil chamber measured CO2 efflux. Results Results suggested that, on average, 50.4 % of total soil CO2 efflux was derived from the respiration of the living roots, 42.4 % from decomposition of the litter layers and less than 10 % from decomposition of belowground SOM. Conclusions The Δ14C method proved to be an efficient tool by which to partition soil CO2 efflux and quantify the contribution of the different components of soil respiration. However the average calculated heterotrophic respiration was statistically lower compared with two previous studies dealing with soil CO2 efflux partitioning (one performed in the same study by subtracting area; the other a meta-analysis of soil respiration partitioning). These differences were probably due to the heterogeneity of the SOM fraction and to a suboptimal choice of the litter sampling period.