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Forests 2016, 7(11), 263; doi:10.3390/f7110263

Mitigating the Stress of Drought on Soil Respiration by Selective Thinning: Contrasting Effects of Drought on Soil Respiration of Two Oak Species in a Mediterranean Forest

1
Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, University of Barcelona, Diagonal 643, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
2
CREAF, Cerdanyola del Vallès, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Robert Jandl and Mirco Rodeghiero
Received: 7 September 2016 / Revised: 25 October 2016 / Accepted: 28 October 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Soil Respiration under Climate Changing)
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Abstract

Drought has been shown to reduce soil respiration (SR) in previous studies. Meanwhile, studies of the effect of forest management on SR yielded contrasting results. However, little is known about the combined effect of drought and forest management on SR. To investigate if the drought stress on SR can be mitigated by thinning, we implemented plots of selective thinning and 15% reduced rainfall in a mixed forest consisting of the evergreen Quercus ilex and deciduous Quercus cerrioides; we measured SR seasonally from 2004 to 2007. Our results showed a clear soil moisture threshold of 9%; above this value, SR was strongly dependent on soil temperature, with Q10 of 3.0–3.8. Below this threshold, the relationship between SR and soil temperature weakened. We observed contrasting responses of SR of target oak species to drought and thinning. Reduced rainfall had a strong negative impact on SR of Q. cerrioides, whereas the effect on SR for Q. ilex was marginal or even positive. Meanwhile, selective thinning increased SR of Q. cerrioides, but reduced that of Q. ilex. Overall, our results showed that the negative effect of drought on SR can be offset through selective thinning, but the effect is attenuated with time. View Full-Text
Keywords: reduced rainfall; selective thinning; soil respiration; Quercus ilex; Quercus cerrioides reduced rainfall; selective thinning; soil respiration; Quercus ilex; Quercus cerrioides
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Chang, C.-T.; Sperlich, D.; Sabaté, S.; Sánchez-Costa, E.; Cotillas, M.; Espelta, J.M.; Gracia, C. Mitigating the Stress of Drought on Soil Respiration by Selective Thinning: Contrasting Effects of Drought on Soil Respiration of Two Oak Species in a Mediterranean Forest. Forests 2016, 7, 263.

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