J Plant Ecol ›› 2022, Vol. 15 ›› Issue (1): 57-70 .DOI: 10.1093/jpe/rtab067

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Aboveground net primary productivity and soil respiration display different responses to precipitation changes in desert grassland

Lihua Zhang*, Junfeng Wang, Ruifeng Zhao, Yafei Guo and Lianyi Hao   

  1. College of Geography and Environment Science, Northwest Normal University, 967 Anning East Road, Lanzhou 730070, China

    *Corresponding author. E-mail: zhanglihualz@126.com
  • Received:2020-11-01 Revised:2020-12-08 Accepted:2021-06-01 Online:2021-06-19 Published:2022-02-01


Precipitation (PPT) changes affect both aboveground vegetation dynamics and belowground carbon cycling processes, particularly in arid and semiarid regions. However, it remains unclear how extreme PPT variation can affect soil carbon sequestration potential. A 3-year PPT manipulation experiment with five levels (±40%, ±20% and ambient PPT) was conducted in a desert grassland of western Loess Plateau. Aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) and soil respiration (Rs) were measured to examine whether the responses of ANPP and Rs to PPT changes displayed a double asymmetry model. The ANPP was more sensitive to extreme drought than extreme wet treatments in wet and dry years, which displayed a negative asymmetric model. The change in ANPP was mainly due to the direct effect of PPT change, and plant density variation also exerted some influence in the dry year. In contrast, Rs displayed a positive asymmetry response to PPT change in dry year. This may be ascribed to enhanced autotrophic respiration due to the enhanced positive responses of plant growth and ANPP to wet treatments as well as stronger birch effect of rainfall events on heterotrophic respiration. The saturating response of Rs to extreme drought (−40% PPT treatment) was also found in the dry year. Nevertheless, the response of Rs to PPT change displayed a negative asymmetry model in wet years. The contrasting models for ANPP and Rs in response to altered PPT regime suggest that extreme wet or dry treatments may increase soil C pools effluxes toward debt in this desert grassland.

Key words: primary production, plant growth, soil respiration, soil carbon balance, extreme precipitation, desert grassland, asymmetry response




关键词: 初级生产力, 植物生长, 土壤呼吸, 土壤碳平衡, 极端降水, 荒漠草原, 不对称响应