Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2023, Vol. 47 ›› Issue (8): 1043-1054.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2022.0202

• Reviews •     Next Articles

Effects of warming on fine root growth, mortality and turnover: a review

WU Chen1,2,3, CHEN Xin-Yi1,2,3, LIU Yuan-Hao1,2,3, HUANG Jin-Xue1, XIONG De-Cheng1,2,3,*()   

  1. 1School of Geographical Sciences, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350007, China
    2Fujian Provincial Key Laboratory for Plant Eco-physiology, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350007, China
    3Fujian Sanming Forest Ecosystem National Observation and Research Station, Sanming, Fujian 365002, China
  • Received:2022-05-18 Accepted:2022-10-10 Online:2023-08-20 Published:2022-10-10
  • Contact: *XIONG De-Cheng(
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(32071743);National Natural Science Foundation of China(31930071);National Natural Science Foundation of China(31901132);National Key Basic Research and Development Plan of China(2014CB954003)


Fine roots are the most active and sensitive part of the root system, and play an important role in the biogeochemical cycles of forest ecosystems. Fine root growth and turnover have a strong impact on the root carbon flux into soil. The effect of global warming on below-ground ecological processes has become a hot issue in global change research, and the response of fine root dynamics to warming will directly affect the carbon balance of forest ecosystems. In this paper, the effects of warming on fine root production, mortality, biomass and turnover are reviewed to reveal the effects of warming on fine root dynamics. Generally, warming affects the fine root production and mortality by changing soil moisture, nutrient availability and distribution of recent photosynthetic products, accelerates fine root turnover process, and then reduces fine root biomass. However, fine root growth is affected by many factors, making the research results of the impact of warming on fine roots inconsistent among different studies, due to the difference in tree species, regions, warming methods and other factors. Therefore, comprehensively analyzing the response of forest fine roots under warming is very important for studies on below-ground ecological processes. In the future, we call for more research in the following aspects: (1) according to the advantages and disadvantages of each warming method, compare the effects of different warming methods and warming durations on the growth dynamics of fine roots and above-ground parts; (2) combined with various fine root observation and experimental methods, comprehensively analyze the effect of warming on fine root growth dynamics, and strengthen the research on the effect of warming on fine root order structure; (3) strengthen the research on the interaction of warming and nutrient, water and CO2 on fine root growth dynamics; (4) focus on the effects of warming on fine root dynamics in different soil layers, especially in deep soils; and (5) deeply study the potential response of the relationship among fine roots, soils and microorganisms to warming.

Key words: global warming, fine root growth, below-ground carbon allocation, vertical distribution, turnover rate