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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-133
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2020-133
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  20 Apr 2020

20 Apr 2020

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A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal BG and is expected to appear here in due course.

Seasonality, drivers, and isotopic composition of soil CO2 fluxes from tropical forests of the Congo Basin

Simon Baumgartner1,5, Matti Barthel1, Travis W. Drake1, Marijn Bauters2, Isaac Ahanamungu Makelele2,3, John Kalume Mugula3, Laura Summerauer1, Nora Gallarotti1, Landry Cizungu Ntaboba4, Kristof Van Oost5, Pascal Boeckx2, Sebastian Doetterl1, Roland A. Werner1, and Johan Six1 Simon Baumgartner et al.
  • 1Department of Environmental Systems Science, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2Department of Green Chemistry and Technology, Ghent University, Belgium
  • 3Département de Biologie, Université Officielle de Bukavu, DR Congo
  • 4Department d'Agronomie, Université Catholique de Bukavu, DR Congo
  • 5Earth and Life Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium

Abstract. Soil respiration is an important carbon flux and key process determining the net ecosystem production of terrestrial ecosystems. To address the enormous lack of quantification and understanding of seasonality in soil respiration of tropical forests in the Congo Basin, soil CO2 fluxes and potential controlling factors were measured for the first time annually in two dominant forest types (lowland and montane) of the Congo Basin during three years at varying temporal resolution. Soil CO2 fluxes from the Congo Basin resulted in 3.69 ± 1.22 and 3.82 ± 1.15 µmol CO2 m−2 s−1 for lowland and montane forests, respectively. Respiration in montane forest soils showed a clear seasonality with decreasing flux rates during the dry season. Montane forest soil CO2 fluxes were positively correlated with soil moisture while CO2 fluxes in the lowland forest were not. Paired ẟ13C values of soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil CO2 indicated that SOC in lowland forests is more decomposed than in montane forests, suggesting that respiration is controlled by C availability rather than environmental factors. In general, C in montane forests was more enriched in 13C throughout the whole cascade of carbon intake via photosynthesis, litterfall, SOC, and soil CO2 compared to lowland forests, pointing to a more open system. Even though soil CO2 fluxes are similarly high in lowland and montane forests of the Congo Basin, the drivers of them were different, i.e. soil moisture for montane forest and C availability for lowland forest.

Simon Baumgartner et al.

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Simon Baumgartner et al.

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Dataset: Seasonality, drivers, and isotopic composition of soil CO2 fluxes from tropical forests of the Congo Basin S. Baumgartner https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3757767

Simon Baumgartner et al.

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Short summary
Soil respiration is an important carbon flux and key process determining the net ecosystem production of terrestrial ecosystems. The Congo Basin lacks studies quantifying carbon fluxes. We measured soil CO2 fluxes from different forest types in the Congo Basin and were able to show that, even though soil CO2 fluxes are similarly high in lowland and montane forests, the drivers of them were different: soil moisture in montane forests and C availability in the lowland forests.
Soil respiration is an important carbon flux and key process determining the net ecosystem...
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