Soil respiration was measured for 2 years in an artificial gap and in an undisturbed area in a Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica D. Don) forest to estimate the contribution of root respiration to total soil respiration. Measurement plots were set up at the center of the gap, the edge of the gap, the edge of the surrounding stand and within the stand. Using a small gap (2.5 m × 2.5 m) enabled us to maintain the same soil temperature and soil moisture as found in the stand. Seasonal fluctuations in soil respiration, increasing in summer and decreasing in winter, corresponded to changes in the soil surface temperature. Soil respiration in the gap site did not differ significantly from those in the stand in the first year of gap formation. However, in the second year, the minimum CO2 flux was observed at the center of the gap and the maximum at the edge of the surrounding stand. Assuming that the differences between soil respiration in the center of the gap and that in the stand were equal to the root respiration, the root respiration rate was calculated from the relationship between the root respiration rates (Rr) and the soil surface temperature (Ts) by Ln(Rr) = 0.07Ts + 3.48. The average contribution of root respiration to total soil respiration, as estimated from the soil surface temperature in the stand by using the above equation, was 49%. After taking root decomposition into consideration, the contribution of root respiration to soil respiration increased from 49 to 57%.
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