Elevated CO2 differentiates ecosystem carbon processes: Deconvolution analysis of duke forest face data

Yiqi Luo, Lianhai Wu, Jeffrey A. Andrews, Luther White, Roser Matamala, Karina Schäfer, William H. Schlesinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Quantification of the flux of carbon (C) through different pathways is critical to predict the impact of global change on terrestrial ecosystems. Past research has encountered considerable difficulty in separating root exudation, root turnover rate, and other belowground C fluxes as affected by elevated CO2. In this study we adopted a deconvolution analysis to differentiate C flux pathways in forest soils and to quantify the flux through those pathways. We first conducted forward analysis using a terrestrial-C sequestration (TCS) model to generate four alternative patterns of convolved responses of soil surface respiration to a step increase in atmospheric CO2. The model was then validated against measured soil respiration at ambient CO2 before it was used to deconvolve the CO2 stimulation of soil respiration. Deconvolved data from the Duke Forest free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiment suggest that fast C transfer processes, e.g., root exudation, are of minor importance in the ecosystem C cycling in the Duke Forest and were not affected by elevated CO2. The analysis indicates that the fine-root turnover is a major process adding C to the rhizosphere. This C has a residence time of several months to ∼2 yr and increases significantly with increased CO2. In addition, the observed phase shift in soil respiration caused by elevated CO2 can be only reproduced by incorporation of a partial time delay function in C fluxes into the model. This paper also provides a detailed explanation of deconvolution analysis, since it is a relatively new research technique in ecology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-376
Number of pages20
JournalEcological Monographs
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • CO
  • Carbon flux
  • Carbon sink
  • Convolution and deconvolution
  • Forest ecosystem
  • Forward modeling
  • Global change
  • Inverse analysis
  • Root exudation
  • Root turnover
  • Soil carbon processes
  • Terrestrial-carbon sequestration (TCS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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