Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2017, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (12): 1239-1250.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2017.0208

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Main factors driving changes in soil respiration under altering precipitation regimes and the controlling processes

YANG Qing-Xiao1,2, TIAN Da-Shuan2, ZENG Hui1,4,*(), NIU Shu-Li2,3   

  1. 1School of Urban Planning and Design, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, Shenzhen 518055, China

    2Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modelling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

    3College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education, Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Online:2017-12-10 Published:2018-02-23
  • Contact: ZENG Hui

Abstract: Aims Our objective was to determine the effects of changes in global pattern of precipitation on soil respiration and the controlling factors. Methods Data were collected from literature on precipitation manipulation experiments globally and a meta-analysis was conducted to synthesize the responses of soil respiration to changes in precipitation regimes. Important findings We found that an increased precipitation stimulated soil respiration while a decreased precipitation suppressed it. When changes in rainfall were normalized to the average treatment level (41% of the current annual precipitation), the level of increases in soil respiration with increased precipitation (49%) were higher than that of decreases with decreased precipitation (21%), showing an asymmetric responses of soil respiration to increases and decreases in precipitation. Soil moisture occurred as the most predominant factor driving the changes in soil respiration under altered precipitation. Changes in soil moisture affected soil respiration directly and indiscreetly by changing aboveground/belowground net primary productivity and microbial biomass carbon, which collectively contributed 98% of variations in soil respiration. In addition, the responses of soil respiration to altered precipitation varied with background temperature and precipitation. The sensitivity of soil respiration increased with local mean annual temperature when precipitation was reduced, while remaining unchanged when precipitation was increased. Meanwhile, the sensitivity of soil respiration to either increases or decreases in precipitation decreased with increasing local mean annual precipitation. Under future altered precipitation regimes, the sensitivity of soil respiration to changes in precipitation is likely dependent of local environment conditions.

Key words: soil respiration, carbon cycle, meta-analysis, precipitation change