The global biogeography of soil priming effect intensity

Chengjie Ren, Fei Mo, Zhenghu Zhou, Felipe Bastida, Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo, Jieying Wang, Xinyi Zhang, Yiqi Luo, Timothy J. Griffis, Xinhui Han, Gehong Wei, Jun Wang, Zekun Zhong, Yongzhong Feng, Guangxin Ren, Xiaojiao Wang, Kailiang Yu, Fazhu Zhao, Gaihe Yang, Fenghui Yuan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Aim: Fresh carbon (C) inputs to the soil can have important consequences for the decomposition rates of soil organic matter (priming effect), thereby impacting the delicate global C balance at the soil–atmosphere interface. Yet, the environmental factors that control soil priming effect intensity remain poorly understood at a global scale. Location: Global. Time period: 1980–2020. Major taxa studied: Soil priming effect intensity. Methods: We conducted a global dataset of CO2 effluxes in 711 pairwise soils with 13C or 14C simple C sources inputs and without C inputs from incubation experiments in which isotope-labelled C was used to quantify fresh C-induced rather than exudate-induced priming. Results: Soil priming effect intensity is predominantly positive. Soil texture and C content were identified as the most important factors associated with priming effects, with sandy soils from tropical and mid-latitudes supporting the highest soil priming effect intensity, and soils with greater C content and fine textures from high latitudes maintaining the lowest soil priming effects. The negative association between C content and soil priming effect intensity was also indirectly driven by changing mean annual temperature, net primary productivity, and fungi : bacteria ratio. Using this information, we generated a global map of soil priming effect intensity, and found that the priming was lower at high latitudes and higher at lower latitudes. Main conclusions: Global patterns of soil priming effect intensity can be predicted using environmental data, with soil texture and C content playing a predominant role in explaining in priming effects. These effects were also indirectly driven by climate, vegetation and soil microbial properties. We present the first global atlas of soil priming effect intensity and advance our knowledge on the potential mechanisms underlying soil priming effect intensity, which are integral to improving the climate change and soil C dynamics components of Earth System models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1679-1687
Number of pages9
JournalGlobal Ecology and Biogeography
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • climate change
  • global atlas
  • global drivers
  • priming effect intensity
  • soil C dynamics
  • soil texture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'The global biogeography of soil priming effect intensity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this