Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 1239–1249 | Cite as

Short-term response of soil respiration to simulated acid rain in Cunninghamia lanceolata and Michelia macclurei plantations

  • Wenhui Zheng
  • Renshan Li
  • Qingpeng YangEmail author
  • Weidong Zhang
  • Ke Huang
  • Xin Guan
  • Silong WangEmail author
Soils, Sec 2 • Global Change, Environ Risk Assess, Sustainable Land Use • Research Article



Acid rain is a primary environmental problem in Southern China. However, the effect of acid rain on soil respiration rarely received attention, especially in ecosystems with different buffering capacities to acid rain. Thus, we explored how the response of soil respiration to simulated acid rain (SAR) in Cunninghamia lanceolata and Michelia macclurei plantations, which had great difference in the buffering capacities of their litter layers to acid rain.

Materials and methods

The field experiment was subjected to a split-block experiment, with four main blocks in each plantation. Each block was split into A1 (SAR treatment, pH = 3) and A0 (deionized water, pH = 6.6) plots. Each plot was separated into subplots with (L0) and without (L1) litter treatments. SAR and deionized water were applied twice a month to A1 and A0 plots, respectively. From June 2016 to June 2017, soil respiration was measured twice per month using Li-8100 infrared gas analyzer. Soil temperature and moisture at a 5-cm depth were monitored using temperature and moisture sensors connected to Li-8100 during the measurement of soil respiration.

Results and discussion

The result showed that SAR did not significantly influence soil respiration neither in C. lanceolate nor in M. macclurei plantations. However, the reasons for this result were probably different in the two plantations. The unchanged soil respiration in C. lanceolata plantation was mainly attributed to the negligible effect of SAR on fine root biomass and microbial biomass carbon (MBC) in C. lanceolata plantation because of the acclimation of fine root and microorganism to acid soil environment. In addition, the increase in fine root biomass and decrease in MBC may have resulted in the absence of the influence of SAR on soil respiration in M. macclurei plantation, because the variation of soil respiration derived from fine root under SAR may have offset that derived from microorganism.


Although C. lanceolata and M. macclurei plantations had different buffering capacities to SAR, SAR did not significantly affect soil respiration in both plantations after 1 year of SAR treatment. Therefore, the long-term effect of SAR on soil respiration should be considered, particularly in forest types with different buffering capacities to acid rain.


Acidification Chinese fir Plantation Q10 Soil respiration Temperature sensitivity 



We thank Xiuyong Zhang and Zhengqi Shen for their invaluable assistance in the field experiments.

Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41630755 and 31570402), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant no. 2016YFD0600204), and Hunan Province Science and Technology Program (Grant No. 2017TP1040).

Supplementary material

11368_2018_2148_MOESM1_ESM.docx (206 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 206 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Management, Institute of Applied EcologyChinese Academy of SciencesShenyangChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Huitong National Research Station of Forest EcosystemHuitongChina

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