iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Seasonal dynamics of soil respiration and nitrification in three subtropical plantations in southern China

Weixia Wang (1-2)   , Ruimei Cheng (2-3), Zuomin Shi (2-3), Joachim Ingwersen (4), Da Luo (2), Shirong Liu (2)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 9, Issue 5, Pages 813-821 (2016)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1828-009
Published: May 29, 2016 - Copyright © 2016 SISEF

Research Articles

Numerous studies have documented that soil respiration and nitrogen cycling show a distinct seasonal dependence regulated by environmental factors (e.g., soil temperature and soil water content). The mechanisms controlling the seasonal dependence of these two key ecosystem processes have rarely been linked to both soil microbial community and soil environmental factors. Here, we present results on the seasonal patterns of soil respiration and gross nitrification rates in three subtropical plantations of Pinus massoniana, Castanopsis hystrix and Erythrophleum fordii over a period of 11 months. Turnover rates were measured with the Barometric Process Separation technique (BaPS). We elucidated how soil respiration and gross nitrification are controlled by the soil microbial community and by soil environmental factors. Soil respiration and gross nitrification showed strong seasonal dynamics, although no significant differences were observed among plantations. The turnover rates were the highest during the wet season and the lowest during the dry season. Microbial biomass, total phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs), fungal PLFAs and bacterial PLFAs peaked during the dry season. Both soil respiration and gross nitrification rates were positively correlated with soil temperature and soil water content. Microbial biomass decreased with increasing turnover rates. Our findings highlight that carbon and nitrogen turnover rates were mostly controlled by soil temperature and soil water content.


Soil Respiration, Nitrification, PLFA, Soil Microbial Community, N-fixing Tree Species, Subtropical China

Authors’ address

Weixia Wang
College of Forestry and Horticulture, Xinjiang Agricultural University, Urumqi 830052 (China)
Weixia Wang
Ruimei Cheng
Zuomin Shi
Da Luo
Shirong Liu
Key Laboratory on Forest Ecology and Environmental Sciences of State Forestry Administration; Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091 (China)
Ruimei Cheng
Zuomin Shi
Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037 (China)
Joachim Ingwersen
Institute of Soil Science and Land Evaluation, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart D-70593 (Germany)

Corresponding author

Weixia Wang


Wang W, Cheng R, Shi Z, Ingwersen J, Luo D, Liu S (2016). Seasonal dynamics of soil respiration and nitrification in three subtropical plantations in southern China. iForest 9: 813-821. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1828-009

Academic Editor

Elena Paoletti

Paper history

Received: Aug 28, 2015
Accepted: Feb 02, 2016

First online: May 29, 2016
Publication Date: Oct 13, 2016
Publication Time: 3.90 months

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