Soil respiration sensitivities to water and temperature in a revegetated desert Academic Article uri icon


  • 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Soil respiration in water-limited ecosystems is affected intricately by soil water content (SWC), temperature, and soil properties. Eight sites on sand-fixed dunes that revegetated in different years since 1950s, with several topographical positions and various biological soil crusts (BSCs) and soil properties, were selected, as well as a moving sand dune (MSD) and a reference steppe in the Tengger Desert of China. Intact soil samples of 20cm in depth were taken and incubated randomly at 12 levels of SWC (0 to 0.4m3m-3) and at 9 levels of temperature (5 to 45C) in a growth chamber; additionally, cryptogamic and microbial respirations (RM) were measured. Total soil respiration (RT, including cryptogamic, microbial, and root respiration) was measured for 2years at the MSD and five sites of sand-fixed dunes. The relationship between RM and SWC under the optimal SWC condition (0.25m3m-3) is linear, as is the entire range of RT and SWC. The slope of linear function describes sensitivity of soil respiration to water (SRW) and reflects to soil water availability, which is related significantly to soil physical properties, BSCs, and soil chemical properties, in decreasing importance. Inversely, Q10 for RM is related significantly to abovementioned factors in increasing importance. However, Q10 for RT and respiration rate at 20C are related significantly to soil texture and depth of BSCs and subsoil only. In conclusion, through affecting SRW, soil physical properties produce significant influences on soil respiration, especially for RT. This indicates that a definition of the biophysical meaning of SRW is necessary, considering the water-limited and coarse-textured soil in most desert ecosystems. Key Points The sensitivity of soil respiration to water (SRW) is defined SRW related to soil water availability Soil physical properties exerted influences on respiration by affecting SRW

published proceedings

  • Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, Z., Dong, X., Xu, B., Chen, Y., Zhao, Y., Gao, Y., Hu, Y., & Huang, L.

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Zhi-Shan||Dong, Xue-Jun||Xu, Bing-Xin||Chen, Yong-Le||Zhao, Yang||Gao, Yan-Hong||Hu, Yi-Gang||Huang, Lei

publication date

  • January 2015