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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Productivity and Seasonality Drive Total Soil Respiration in Semi-Arid Juniper Woodlands (Juniperus thurifera L., Southern Spain)

Garcia Morote, Francisco Antonio; Andres Abellan, Manuela; Rubio, Eva; Martinez Garcia, Eduardo; Garcia Saucedo, Francisco; Picazo Cordoba, Marta Isabel; Lopez Serrano, Francisco Ramon


We analyzed the relationship between forest productivity (joint effect of forest maturity and soil quality) and total soil respiration (mu mol CO2 m(-2) s(-1)) in semi-arid juniper woodlands (young woodlands growing in abandoned farmlands with deeper soils, and mature woodlands in lithic soils), and investigated the seasonal variation in soil CO2 efflux as a function of soil temperature and the soil water content. We measured the soil CO2 efflux from twelve cylinders in the soil over a three-year period using LI-6400 equipment. The results show that, in the more productive site (young woodland), soil CO2 efflux was higher due to greater respiration, mainly in the driest periods. Soil respiration followed a seasonal trend, being higher in spring and decreasing in cold periods. In both juniper woodlands and especially in the older forest, the CO2 efflux rates were low (<2.5 for Q(10)), typical of slow-growing species. Soil respiration was controlled by soil temperature without drought and in the temperate-warm season, whereas respiration showed sensitivity to soil water content in periods when edaphic humidity was low (but only in the more productive, young forest, which seemed to show better adaptation to drought), and under high soil moisture (soil water > 25%) for both woodlands, coinciding with warm temperatures in the spring. This period also corresponded to the highest CO2 efflux recorded in both woodlands. The accumulation of organic C seems to also be important to maintain elevated soil respiration in summer, especially in young woodlands. Thus, apart from microclimatic conditions, factors related to productivity regulate respiratory activity.


soil CO2 efflux; Spanish juniper; temperature coefficient; Q(10); slow-growing species; soil moisture; soil organic C; semi-arid climate

Published in

2022, volume: 13, number: 4, article number: 538
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Garcia Morote, Francisco Antonio
Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha
Andres Abellan, Manuela
Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha
Rubio, Eva
Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha
Martínez García, Eduardo (Martinez Garcia, Eduardo)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management
Garcia Saucedo, Francisco
Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha
Picazo Cordoba, Marta Isabel
Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha
Lopez Serrano, Francisco Ramon
Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


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