Research Article

Significance of soil respiration from biological activity in the degradation processes of different types of organic matter


Zsolt Kotroczó1,* István Fekete2

1Department of Agro-Environmental Studies, Szent István University, Budapest, Hungary 

2Institute of Environmental Sciences, University of Nyíregyháza, Nyíregyháza, Hungary

*Correspondence: kotroczo.zsolt[at], Villányi str. 29-43. 1118, Budapest, Hungary



Soil respiration is a major component of global carbon cycle. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the environmental controls on soil respiration for evaluating potential response of ecosystems to climate change. In a temperate deciduous forest (located in Northern-Hungary) we added or removed aboveground and belowground litter to determine total soil respiration. We investigated the relationship between total soil CO2 efflux, soil moisture, and soil temperature. Soil CO2 efflux was measured at each plot using soda-lime method. Temperature sensitivity of soil respiration (Q10) was monitored via measuring soil temperature on an hourly basis, while soil moisture was determined monthly. Soil respiration increased in control plots from the second year after implementing the treatment, but results showed fluctuations from one year to another. The effect of doubled litter was less significant than the effect of removal. Removed litter and root inputs caused substantial decrease in soil respiration. We found that temperature was more influential in the control of soil respiration than soil moisture. In plots with no litter Q10 varied in the largest interval. For treatment with doubled litter layer, temperature sensitivity of CO2 efflux did not change considerably. The effect of increasing soil temperature is more conspicuous to soil respiration in litter removal treatments since lack of litter causes greater irradiation. When exclusively leaf litter was considered, the effect of temperature on soil respiration was lower in treatments with added litter than with removed litter. Our results reveal that soil life is impacted by the absence of organic matter, rather than by an excess of organic matter. Results of CO2 emission from soils with different organic matter content can contribute to sustainable land use, considering the changed climatic factors caused by global climate change.

Keywords: carbon cycle, CO2 efflux, DIRT, Q10, forest soil, and soil biology


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Cite as: Kotroczó and Fekete“Significance of soil respiration from biological activity in the degradation processes of different types of organic matter” DRC Sustainable Future 2020, 1(2): 171-179, DOI: 10.37281/DRCSF/1.2.10


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