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Journal Article

Sustained stimulation of soil respiration after 10 years of experimental warming


Reichstein,  M.
Research Group Biogeochemical Model-data Integration, Dr. M. Reichstein, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Reth, S., Graf, W., Reichstein, M., & Munch, J. C. (2009). Sustained stimulation of soil respiration after 10 years of experimental warming. Environmental Research Letters, 4(2), 24005. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/4/2/024005.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-D8BA-F
A number of forest and grassland studies indicated that stimulation of the soil respiration by soil warming ceases after a couple of years (Luo et al 2001 Nature 413 622-5). Here we present results from a long-term soil warming lysimeter experiment in southern Germany showing sustained stimulation of soil respiration after 10 years. Moreover, both warmed and control treatments exhibited a similar temperature response of soil respiration, indicating that adaptation in terms of temperature sensitivity was absent. Carbon dioxide concentration measurements within the profiles are supporting these findings. The increased soil respiration occurred although vegetation productivity in the warmed treatment was not higher than in the control plots. These findings strongly contrast with current soil carbon modeling concepts, where carbon pools decay according to first-order kinetics, and thus a depletion of labile soil carbon pools leads to an apparent down-regulation of microbial respiration (Knorr et al 2005 Nature 433 298-301). Consequently, the potential for positive climate carbon cycle feedback may be larger than represented in current models of soil carbon turnover. [References: 20]