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Environmental factors associated with seasonal variations of night-time plant canopy and soil respiration fluxes in deciduous conifer forest, Western Himalaya, India

  • Nilendu Singh
  • Bikash Ranjan ParidaEmail author
Original Article


In situ carbon flux studies are typically rare over the Himalaya but are important to understand carbon (C) balance. We investigated night-time canopy respiration (Rnc) and soil respiration (Rs) of a deciduous coniferous forest in response to environmental factors. A comprehensive investigation has been carried out on C balance indicators by employing systematic and concurrent measurements over an annual growth cycle of pine (Nov 2010–Dec 2011). The study site consists of uniformly distributed young deciduous Pinus roxburghii plantation having understory as Lantana camara (an invasive shrub). Results underlined that both Rnc and Rs fluxes were highest in the post-monsoon season. Evaporative fraction (EF) and temperature explained maximum variability of fluxes during warm-moist monsoon. Our key finding depicts an inverse significant correlation between day-time canopy photosynthesis (Ac) and Rnc across the seasons (r = 0.83–0.99). This can be explained by the mechanistic physiological phase of optimal anabolism (Ac) with favorable environmental conditions and minimum level of catabolism (Rnc). The respiration-photosynthesis ratio (Rnc/Ac) typically ranged from 0.25 ± 0.11 (peak growing season) to 0.71 ± 0.16 (winter season) with mean of 0.26 ± 0.10. The ratio Rs/Ac was highest during the winter season (2.69 ± 0.43), while minimum during peak growing season (0.64 ± 0.29). The Rnc/Ac ratio and night-time temperature (AT) also revealed that the ratio could increase when AT crossed 24 °C. These responses indicate that under climate warming, it may have a significant influence on net plant C uptake. Presence of understory shrub minimizes the Rnc/Ac ratio, and indicative of a more positive C-balance. Nevertheless, the observations could certainly lend useful insight into C-balance and ecological function in the region. Further, it may be useful in parameterizing and validating C-cycle models.


Nigh-time plant respiration Soil respiration Pinus roxburghii Understory Subtropical Himalaya Respiration-photosynthesis ratio 



Night-time canopy respiration


Soil respiration


Latent heat


Sensible heat




Evaporative fraction


Air temperature


Soil temperature


Soil moisture


Vapor pressure deficit


Relative humidity




Carbon dioxide


Day-time canopy photosynthesis


Gross primary production


Day-time plant respiration


Ecosystem respiration


Leaf area index

10-days interval






This work has been carried out under the project titled ‘Energy and Mass Exchange in Vegetative Systems (EMEVS)’ in ISRO-Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. The authors are grateful to the Directors of Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun and Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad, India. The Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology is thankfully acknowledged for all the logistical support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

468_2018_1804_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 3043 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for GlaciologyWadia Institute of Himalayan GeologyDehradunIndia
  2. 2.Department of Land Resource Management, School of Natural Resource ManagementCentral University of JharkhandRanchiIndia

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