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Impact of temperature and defoliation (simulated grazing) on soil respiration of pasture grass (Cenchrus ciliaris L.) in a controlled experiment

Sangha, Kamaljit (Kaur, Kamaljit), Jalota, Rajesh K. and Midmore, David J. (2007). Impact of temperature and defoliation (simulated grazing) on soil respiration of pasture grass (Cenchrus ciliaris L.) in a controlled experiment. Journal of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences,1(2).

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Impact of temperature and defoliation (simulated grazing) on soil respiration of pasture grass (Cenchrus ciliaris L.) in a controlled experiment
Author Sangha, Kamaljit (Kaur, Kamaljit)
Jalota, Rajesh K.
Midmore, David J.
Journal Name Journal of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences
Publication Date 2007
Volume Number 1
Issue Number 2
ISSN 1934-35   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Total Pages 9
Place of Publication United States of America
Publisher Global Commerce & Communication, Inc
Field of Research 300000 Agricultural, Veterinary and Environmental Sciences
Abstract A controlled experiment was conducted on Cenchrus ciliaris L. grass (exotic to Australia) commonly grown in Queensland pastures to investigate the impact of defoliation (simulated grazing), temperature and soil moisture on total soil respiration, and to isolate different components of total soil respiration i.e. the root, root free soil and rhizosphere respiration. The six types of treatments i.e. control (soil only without grass (C1)), control with grass but no defoliation (C2) grown for 9 months, non-defoliated treatments with grass grown for 4 months (D0), and three defoliation treatments (grass defoliated once, D1; twice, D2; and thrice, D3 during growth) were maintained over 9 months. Our results suggested that defoliation had no effect on total soil respiration. However, soil temperature accounted for significant changes in total soil respiration across all the defoliation and C2 treatments but not in D0, and the greatest change in soil respiration in response to temperature was noted at the third stage of defoliation, suggesting that defoliation increased the sensitivity of soil respiration to temperature. Root respiration was significantly (P <0.05) related to root biomass and greater root biomass contributed mainly to increased rate of total soil respiration. The greater sensitivity of total soil respiration to temperature in D1, D2, D3 and C2 treatments and the greater contribution of root respiration in total soil respiration suggests that the root respiration, rather than the total soil respiration, is likely to be more sensitive to change in temperature. With rising ambient temperature and consequently soil temperature, soil CO2 emissions may increase in a pasture with greater root biomass than that with lesser root biomass.
Keywords Cenchrus cilaris
Microbial respiration
Root respiration
Soil respiration
Soil temperature
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