Journal of Ecology and Rural Environment ›› 2017, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (2): 166-173.doi: 10.11934/j.issn.1673-4831.2017.02.010

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Response of Soil Respiration to Simulated Rainfall Pulse in Jigong Mountain, China, Relative to Type of Forest and Volume of Litter

HU Meng-jun1, WANG Jia-li1, SHANG Qing2, LIU Yin-zhan1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Plant Stress Biology, College of Life Science, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China;
    2. Yellow River Conservancy Technical Institute, Kaifeng 475003, China
  • Received:2016-03-21 Online:2017-02-25 Published:2017-02-14


Rainfall pulse has been widely reported to stimulate soil respiration. Litters on the land surface are the main source of organic carbon in forest soil, and a factor affecting rainfall infiltration process as well as soil water content. However, it is still unclear whether the effects of rainfall pulse on soil respiration vary with the volume of litter and the type of forest. In-situ observations were conducted in a Quercus acutissima secondary forest and a Metasequoia glyptostroboides plantation in the Jigongshan mountain of Henan Province, a transient area between subtropical and warm-temperate zones, of effects of volume of little and type of forest on soil respiration rate under simulated rainfalls, to illustrate rules of the responses of soil respiration to intensity pulse in soils under different little conditions. The objective of this study was to explore effects of carbon input on birch and to illustrate their mechanisms. In the Q. acutissima secondary forest, soil respiration rate peaked 10 minutes after the rainfall started, reaching up to 4.72, 11.68, and 5.12 μmol·m-2·s-1 in Control and Treatment (a) or (b), respectively; litter significantly enhanced the stimulative effect of rainfall pulses, but no significant difference was found between Control and Treatment b in soil respiration rate (P>0.05); and the litter layer played an important role affecting soil respiration rate after rainfalls. However, in the M. glyptostroboides plantation, stimulative effect of rainfall pulses on soil respiration did not vary much with the litter layer, either thick or thin; and soil respiration rate significantly decreased in either Treatment a and Treatment b (P<0.05). In the Q. acutissima secondary forest, soil respiration rate was found significantly and positively related to soil moisture at 5 cm depth (P<0.05 or P<0.01), while in the M. glyptostroboides plantation it was to soil temperature at 10 cm depth (P<0.05). The findings in this study suggest that response of soil respiration to rainfall pulse is closely related to type of the forest and existence of a litter layer. Therefore, in studying variations of carbon recycling in forest ecosystems, it is essential to take into account type of the forest and existence of a litter layer in addition to climate change.

Key words: litter addition, litter exclusion, rainfall pulse, soil respiration

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