Soil carbon dioxide efflux (soil respiration, SR) was measured with eight autochambers at two locations along a wetland to upland slope at Harvard Forest over a 4 year period, 2003–2007. SR was consistently higher in the upland plots than at the wetland margin during the late summer/early fall. Seasonal and diel hystereses with respect to soil temperatures were of sufficient magnitude to prevent quantification of the influence of soil moisture, although apparent short‐term responses of SR to precipitation occurred. Calculations of annual cumulative SR illustrated a decreasing trend in SR over the 5 year period, which were correlated with decreasing springtime mean soil temperatures. Spring soil temperatures decreased despite rising air temperatures over the same period, possibly as an effect of earlier leaf expansion and shading. The synchronous decrease in spring soil temperatures and SR during regional warming of air temperatures may represent a negative feedback on a warming climate by reducing CO2 production from soils. SR reached a maximum later in the year than total ecosystem respiration (ER) measured at a nearby eddy covariance flux tower, and the seasonality of their temperature response patterns were roughly opposite. SR, particularly in the upland, exceeded ER in the late summer/early fall in each year, suggesting that areas of lower efflux such as the wetland may be significant in the flux tower footprint or that long‐term bias in either estimate may create a mismatch. Annual estimates of ER decreased over the same period and were highly correlated with SR.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

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Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences



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Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.