iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Soil respiration along an altitudinal gradient in a subalpine secondary forest in China

Shuzheng Luo (1-2)   , Guohua Liu (1), Zongshan Li (1), Chanjuan Hu (3), Li Gong (1-2), Meng Wang (1-2), Huifeng Hu (4)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 8, Issue 4, Pages 526-532 (2014)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor0895-007
Published: Dec 01, 2014 - Copyright © 2014 SISEF

Research Articles

The subalpine forest ecosystems in the Miyaluo Forest District in western Sichuan (China) could be very sensitive to global climate change, with important consequences for the regional carbon (C) balance. In a birch secondary forest in this area, we measured plots with (Control) and without (No Litter) leaf litter to explore variation in soil respiration and its relationship with environmental factors along an altitudinal gradient, and to quantify the litter contribution to soil respiration. Soil respiration rate decreased with elevation. The average of soil respiration rates along the elevation gradient during the measurement period was 2.83 ± 0.14 μmol CO2 m-2 s-1 in the Control treatment and 2.35 ± 0.16 μmol CO2 m-2 s-1 in the No Litter treatment, with an average proportion of litter layer contribution to soil respiration of 17%. A significant linear relationship between soil respiration and soil temperature along the altitudinal gradient was found, while soil respiration was not significantly correlated with soil water content in both treatments. Soil temperature accounted for 94.9% and 95.6% of the total variation in soil respiration in Control and No Litter treatments, respectively. At altitudes of 2910 m, 3135 m, 3300 m and 3492 m a.s.l., soil respiration had a significant exponential relationship with soil temperature (p<0.05), but it was not significantly correlated with soil water content in both treatments (p>0.05). Soil temperature accounted for more than 92% and 81% of the total variation in soil respiration in Control and No Litter treatments, respectively, at all altitudes except at 3135 m a.s.l. Our results suggest that the expected temperature increases by global warming might enhance soil respiration in the birch secondary forest.


Birch Secondary Forest, Soil Respiration, Soil Temperature, Soil Water Content, Litter

Authors’ address

Shuzheng Luo
Guohua Liu
Zongshan Li
Li Gong
Meng Wang
State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085 (China)
Shuzheng Luo
Li Gong
Meng Wang
Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039 (China)
Chanjuan Hu
Institute of Geographical Sciences, Henan Academy of Sciences, Zhengzhou 450052 (China)
Huifeng Hu
Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093 (China)

Corresponding author

Shuzheng Luo


Luo S, Liu G, Li Z, Hu C, Gong L, Wang M, Hu H (2014). Soil respiration along an altitudinal gradient in a subalpine secondary forest in China. iForest 8: 526-532. - doi: 10.3832/ifor0895-007

Academic Editor

Giorgio Matteucci

Paper history

Received: Nov 16, 2012
Accepted: Sep 04, 2014

First online: Dec 01, 2014
Publication Date: Aug 02, 2015
Publication Time: 2.93 months

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