This study was undertaken to identify critical and practical factors explaining spatial variations in soil respiration and to estimate stand-scale soil respiration in an aseasonal tropical rainforest on Borneo Island. To this aim, we conducted soil respiration measurements at 25 points in a 40 m × 40 m subplot of a 4 ha study plot between 2002 and 2006, and examined the spatial variation in soil respiration averaged over the 4 years in relation to soil, root, and forest structural factors. In addition, we examined the spatial representativeness of soil respiration measured in the subplot using a specific scaling procedure. Consequently, we found significant positive correlation between the soil respiration and forest structural parameters such as the mean diameter at breast height (DBH), total basal area, and maximum DBH within 6 m of the measurement points. The most important factor was the mean DBH within 6 m of the measurement points, which had a significant linear relationship with soil respiration. Using the derived linear regression and an inventory dataset, we estimated the 4 ha plot-scale soil respiration. The 4 ha plot-scale estimation (6.0 μmol m-2 s-1) was nearly identical to the subplot-scale measurements (5.7 μmol m-2 s-1), which were roughly comparable to the nocturnal CO2 fluxes calculated using the eddy covariance technique. In addition, we discuss characteristics of the stand-scale soil respiration at this site by comparing with those of other forests reported in previous literature in terms of the soil C balance. Soil respiration at our site was noticeably greater, relative to the incident litterfall amount, than soil respiration in other tropical and temperate forests probably owing to the larger total belowground C allocation by emergent trees. Overall, this study suggests the arrangement of emergent trees with larger DBH and their belowground C allocation could be primary factors controlling spatial variations in soil respiration in the tropical rainforest.
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