Ecosystem-scale carbon isotope ratio of respired CO2 in cool-temperate deciduous forests under Asian monsoon climate

Masao Uchida*, Miyuki Kondo, Yukihiro Nojiri, Hitoshi Mukai, Shohei Murayama, Toshinobu Machida, Hiroshi Koizumi, Norio Oguru, Yoshinari Ambe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The carbon isotopic ratio for ecosystem respiration (δ13CR) is an important parameter in isotopic mass balance models for the global carbon budget. Recent studies in North American and European temperate forests showed that δ13CR was controlled by stomatal regulation of gas exchange and associated changes in photosynthetic carbon isotope discrimination. In this model, δ13CR depends on the vapor pressure deficit (vpd) and precipitation (i.e., plant water availability). We investigated the monthly and annual variation in δ13CR and its controlling factors in two cool-temperate deciduous forests in the monsoon climate area of Japan. The Keeling plot approach was used to evaluate variation in δ13CR. Overall, δ13CR varied from -24.1‰ to -29.7‰ and was most negative in late summer and autumn. The amplitude of the variation was 2.0‰ to 2.2‰ within a forest. In 1996, which had unusually little precipitation (63% of normal precipitation), δ13CR was correlated with vpd measured 7 d before sampling and monthly precipitation, consistent with predictions based on the stomatal regulation model. In contrast, δ13CR in 1995 was insensitive to vpd and precipitation, but was significantly correlated with air temperature, suggesting temperature control associated with variabilities in the decomposition of labile and recalcitrant pools of soil carbon and in the availability of recent photosynthate-derived carbon for respiration. Variation in heterotrophic respiration rather than photosynthetic discrimination appeared to be the dominant factor governing δ13CR in our forests at near-normal levels of precipitation. The results of our study can be used to better constrain future model estimates using δ13CR and ecosystem-level discrimination in a temperate forest in the Asian monsoon region.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberG02015
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jun 28
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Forestry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Palaeontology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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