Soil respiration at mean annual temperature predicts annual total across vegetation types and biomes

M. Bahn*, M. Reichstein, E. A. Davidson, J. Grünzweig, M. Jung, M. S. Carbone, D. Epron, L. Misson, Y. Nouvellon, O. Roupsard, K. Savage, S. E. Trumbore, C. Gimeno, J. Curiel Yuste, J. Tang, R. Vargas, I. A. Janssens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations

Abstract

Soil respiration (SR) constitutes the largest flux of CO2 from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere. However, there still exist considerable uncertainties as to its actual magnitude, as well as its spatial and interannual variability. Based on a reanalysis and synthesis of 80 site-years for 57 forests, plantations, savannas, shrublands and grasslands from boreal to tropical climates we present evidence that total annual SR is closely related to SR at mean annual soil temperature (SRMAT), irrespective of the type of ecosystem and biome. This is theoretically expected for non water-limited ecosystems within most of the globally occurring range of annual temperature variability and sensitivity (10). We further show that for seasonally dry sites where annual precipitation (P) is lower than potential evapotranspiration (PET), annual SR can be predicted from wet season SRMAT corrected for a factor related to P PET. Our finding indicates that it can be sufficient to measure SRMAT for obtaining a well constrained estimate of its annual total. This should substantially increase our capacity for assessing the spatial distribution of soil CO2 emissions across ecosystems, landscapes and regions, and thereby contribute to improving the spatial resolution of a major component of the global carbon cycle.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2147-2157
Number of pages11
JournalBiogeosciences
Volume7
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

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