Soil respiration (SR) is a combination of autotrophic (root respiration) and heterotrophic (microbial respiration). As a combination of these two belowground processes, separating their relative contributions to SR from is difficult. The hemlock removal experiment provided an opportunity to look at these two components of SR. Girdling and logging result in the death and/or removal of aboveground biomass (trees) and subsequently death of root biomass. As a result the measured respiration in these treatment plots should then be comprised primarily of the microbial respiration component of SR. By measuring SR in control plots, and taking the difference with girdled and logged plots, we may determine the relative contribution of root and microbial respiration.
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