Non-destructive measurement of soil respiration in a grassland ecosystem using the multiple-microchambers method
The chamber method with plant clipping has been widely used for measuring soil respiration (SR) in grassland ecosystems. However, plant clipping may cause overestimation of SR by changing the environmental factors and injuring the plants. To solve these problems, we developed a new non-destructive method using multiple-microchambers (3 cm diameter, 8 cm height), which enables measurement of SR without plant clipping by installing chambers into gaps among the grasses. The new method was compared with the conventional method at various flow rates in vitro to assess the accuracy of SR measurement. The new method overestimated the SR rate; however, the ratio of overestimation to the conventional method was constant for each flow rate. These ratios fitted the logarithmic curve, indicating the potential for correction of the SR rate measured by the new method using the logarithmic equation. The corrected SR rate obtained by the new method was equal to the rate by the conventional method. This suggests that accurate measurement of SR in grassland ecosystems is possible using the multiple-microchambers method. We then compared the non-destructive method and the destructive method in situ on summer season and found that the destructive method overestimated SR rate in the grassland ecosystem by about 276% on average. There were two possible reasons for this overestimation; first, the clipping treatment may change environmental conditions such as soil temperature and soil water content, and second, it may directly increase plant respiration.
KeywordsEcosystem ecology Injured respiration Non-destructive measurement Open flow method Soil respiration
We thank Mr. K. Kurumado and Mr. Y. Hiomo of the Takayama Field Station, Gifu University, Japan, for their technical assistance and support. Special thanks to members of Laboratory for Environmental Ecology, Waseda University, for their cooperation and constructive discussions.
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