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A Global Database of Soil Respiration Data, Version 1.0
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Please note that this version was superseded by Version 2 on 2012/03/01.

Follow this link to the latest version:

Bond-Lamberty, B.P. and A.M. Thomson. 2012. A Global Database of Soil Respiration Data, Version 2.0. Data set. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A.

Contact ORNL DAAC User Services ( if you need additional assistance.


This data set provides a soil respiration data database (SRDB), a near-universal compendium of published soil respiration (RS) data. Soil respiration, the flux of autotrophically- and heterotrophically-generated CO2 from the soil to the atmosphere remains the least well-constrained component of the terrestrial C cycle. The database encompasses all published studies that report at least one of the following data measured in the field (not laboratory): annual RS, mean seasonal RS, a seasonal or annual partitioning of RS into its sources fluxes, RS temperature response (Q10), or RS at 10 degrees C. Its orientation is thus to seasonal and annual fluxes, not shorter-term or chamber-specific measurements and is dominated by temperate, well-drained forest measurement locations. The database includes a file of RS data and a linked file of study bibliographic data. Both files are in comma-separated format.


Figure 1. Location of SRDB database observations (dots), by ecosystem type. From Bond-Lamberty and Thomson. 2010. A Google Earth data layer (kmz) is included with this data set as a companion file for easy geographic visualization of the included studies.

A Community Database of Soil Respiration Data

The compilers of the SRDB database (Bond-Lamberty and Thomson, 2010) make it available to the scientific community both as a traditional static archive (ORNL DAAC) and as a dynamic community database that will be updated over time by interested users. 

The dynamic version of the database is hosted on Google Code: This site uses version control software (Subversion,, so that researchers can use (check out) current as well as previous versions of the database. It also features online wiki documentation, a mailing list, and other aspects typical of any open source project. Both archives include the database itself, metadata, and usage notes. Initially the two repositories will hold identical copies, but we anticipate that the dynamic version will expand and change with time. Instructions for making a contribution are listed on the Google Code site. For this reason we recommend that citations to this database always include a version number and download date.

The ORNL DAAC will release Version 1.0 and update this version on an annual basis to incorporate changes and additions submitted by the RS community via the Google Code site and by Bond-Lamberty and Thomson. Transaction logs for the srdb-data and srdb-study files will be maintained.

ORNL DAAC Version Record

SRDB Version ORNL DAAC Release Date Studies Included Records Date Range
Version 1.0 2010/04/30 818 3,379 1961-2007

Version 1.0: Data from 818 studies have been entered into the database, constituting 3,379 records. The data span the measurement years 1961-2007 and are dominated by temperate, well-drained forests.

Data Citation:

Cite this data set as follows:

Bond-Lamberty, B.P. and A.M. Thomson. 2010. A Global Database of Soil Respiration Data, Version 1.0. Data set. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A. doi:10.3334/ORNLDAAC/984

Table of Contents:

1. Data Set Overview:

Project: Soil Collections

The investigators are Bond-Lamberty, B. and Thomson, A.M. 

The SRDB was designed to capture and make available for analysis the large number of RS studies published over the last four decades. It will also be one of the first such databases in the earth sciences to leverage open-source software technologies, resulting in a dynamic, shared, and more powerful data resource for interested users. The science community will determine how, and if, it changes in the future, and the uses to which these data will be put. A Google Earth data layer (kmz)is included with the database for easy geographic visualization of the included studies.

Related Data Set:

Raich, J. W., and W. H. Schlesinger. 2001. Global Annual Soil Respiration Data (Raich and Schlesinger 1992). Data set. Available on-line [] from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A. doi:10.3334/ORNLDAAC/622

Companion Files:

2. Data Characteristics:

The main data file "srdb-data_v1.csv" is a comma-separated file of all the soil respiration data; column names appear in the first row. 

Bibliographic information for the studies that appear in the main data file can be found in the "srdb-studies_v1.csv" file;  column names are in the first row and values are comma-separated.

Data file index:  The assigned four-digit study number is common to both files and indexes the srdb-studies to srdb-data. 

Missing values:  In both files, if a value (numeric or text) is missing for a study, that field is left blank.

User notes:  Fields marked with an asterisk may have values that were subjectively determined.  Some additional notes are included in a table below.

File Description: srdb-data_v1.csv

Column Number Column Name Column Description and Units
1 Record_number Record number, permanent record identifier
2 Entry_date Entry date, yyyy/mm/dd
3 Study_number Study number; index into srdb_studies.csv
4 Author Name of first author, last name only
5 Duplicate_study_record This record is a duplicate of study-record (Study_number-Record_number)
6 Quality_flag Quality flag* 
            V0   default, no qualification (blank cell)
            V01  estimated from figure
            V02  data from another study
            V03   data estimated--other
            V04   potentially useful future data
            V10   potential problem with data
            V11   suspected problem with data
            V12    known problem with data
            V13    duplicate?
            V14   inconsistency
7 Contributor Data contributor to database
8 Country Country
9 Region State or province
10 Site_name Name of study site
11 Study_midyear Year study was performed (middle year if multiple years)
12 Years_of_data Years of data reported by study; always equal to or greater than 1
13 Latitude Latitude, decimal; positive=north, negative=south
14 Longitude Longitude, decimal; positive=east, negative=west
15 Elevation Elevation, m
16 Manipulation Manipulation performed (CO2, fertilization, etc.)
17 Manipulation_level Level of manipulation performed
18 Age_ecosystem Age since ecosystem established, years
19 Age_disturbance Age since disturbance, years
20 Species Dominant species (sp1;sp2;sp3)
21 Biome Biome (boreal, temperate, etc)*
22 Ecosystem_type Ecosystem type (grassland, forest, etc.)*
23 Ecosystem_state Ecosystem state (managed, unmanaged, natural)*
24 Leaf_habit Leaf habit (deciduous, evergreen)
25 Stage Stage (aggrading, mature)*
26 Soil_type Soil description
27 Soil_drainage Soil drainage (dry, wet)*
28 Soil_BD Soil bulk density, g/cm3
29 Soil_CN Soil C:N ratio
30 Soil_sandsiltclay Soil sand:silt:clay ratio
31 MAT Reported mean annual temperature, C
32 MAP Reported mean annual precipitation, mm
33 PET Reported potential annual evapotranspiration, mm
34 Study_temp Annual mean temperature in year study was performed, C
35 Study_precip Annual precipitation in year study was performed, mm
36 Chamber_method Chamber method used (static, closed, open)
37 CO2_method CO2 measurement method (IRGA, Soda lime, etc.)
38 Partition_method Method used to partition Rs source fluxes*
39 Rs_annual Annual C flux from soil respiration, gC/m2
40 Rs_spatial_err Plot-to-plot error reported for Rs_annual, gC/m2
41 Rs_interann_err Interannual error reported for Rs_annual, gC/m2
42 Rs_max Maximum Rs flux, umol/m2/s
43 Rs_maxday Day of maximum Rs flux
44 Rs_min Minimum Rs flux, umol/m2/s
45 Rs_minday Day of minimum Rs flux
46 Rlitter_annual Annual Rs flux from litter, gC/m2
47 Ra_annual Annual Rs flux from autotrophic sources, gC/m2
48 Rh_annual Annual Rs flux from heterotrophic sources, gC/m2
49 RC_annual Root contribution to Rs_annual, fraction
50 Rs_spring Mean spring Rs flux, umol/m2/s
51 Rs_summer Mean summer Rs flux, umol/m2/s
52 Rs_autumn Mean autumn Rs flux, umol/m2/s
53 Rs_winter Mean winter Rs flux, umol/m2/s
54 Rs_growing Mean growing Rs flux, umol/m2/s
55 Rs_wet Mean wet season Rs flux, umol/m2/s
56 Rs_dry Mean dry season Rs flux, umol/m2/s
57 RC_seasonal Root contribution to season Rs, fraction
58 RC_season Season of RC_seasonal
59 Model_type Type of temperature-response model used
60 Temp_effect Temperature effect on Rs (none, positive, negative)
61 Model_output_units Model output units (e.g., umol/m2/s)
62 Model_temp_range Temperature range model fitted over
63 Model_N Model N
64 Model_R2 Model r-squared
65 T_depth Depth at which soil temperature recorded, cm
66 Model_paramA Model parameter A
67 Model_paramB Model parameter B
68 Model_paramC Model parameter C
69 Model_paramD Model parameter D
70 Model_paramE Model parameter E
71 WC_effect Water effect on Rs (none, positive, negative)
72 R10 Rs at 10 C, umol/m2/s
73 Q10_0_10 Q10 temperature response, 0-10 C
74 Q10_5_15 Q10 temperature response, 5-15 C
75 Q10_10_20 Q10 temperature response, 10-20 C
76 Q10_0_20 Q10 temperature response, 0-20 C
77 Q10_other1 Q10 temperature response, other temp range
78 Q10_other1_range Temperature range of Q10_other1, C
79 Q10_other2 Q10 temperature response, other temp range
80 Q10_other2_range Temperature range of Q10_other2, C
81 GPP Annual gross primary production at site, gC/m2
82 ER Annual ecosystem respiration at site, gC/m2
83 NEP Annual net ecosystem production at site, gC/m2
84 NPP Annual net primary production at site, gC/m2
85 ANPP Annual aboveground NPP at site, gC/m2
86 BNPP Annual belowground NPP at site, gC/m2
87 NPP_FR Annual fine root NPP at site, gC/m2
88 TBCA Total belowground carbon allocation at site, gC/m2
89 Litter_flux Annual aboveground litter flux, gC/m2
90 Rootlitter_flux Annual belowground litter flux, gC/m2
91 TotDet_flux Annual total litter flux, gC/m2
92 Ndep Annual nitrogen deposition, gN/m2
93 CH4_flux Annual methane flux, gC/m2
94 N2O_flux Annual nitrous oxide flux, gN/m2
95 LAI Leaf area index at site, m2/m2
96 BA Basal area at site, m2/ha
97 C_veg_total Total carbon in vegetation, gC/m2
98 C_AG Total carbon in aboveground vegetation, gC/m2
99 C_BG Total carbon in belowground vegetation, gC/m2
100 C_CR Total carbon in coarse roots, gC/m2
101 C_FR Total carbon in fine roots, gC/m2
102 C_litter Total carbon in standing litter, gC/m2
103 C_soilmineral Total carbon in soil organic matter, gC/m2
104 C_soildepth Depth to which soil C recorded, cm
105 Notes Notes

* Data Provider Note:  Fields marked with an asterisk have values that are highly subjective.

Example Data Records:


1,2008/09/26,2534,Bond-Lamberty,,V02,BBL,Canada,Manitoba,BOREAS NSA-D1998,2001.5,1.5,56.63,-99.94,,None,,,3,
Picea mariana; Pinus banksiana; Populus tremuloides,Boreal,Forest,Natural,Evergreen,Aggrading,Gray luvisol (Boralf),Medium,,,,0.8,450,,,,Closed,IRGA,Exclusion,255,,,,,,,,-7,262,-0.03,,,,,1.3,,,-0.05,Growing,"Arrhenius, R=a*exp(-b/c(T-d)),
T in K",Positive,umol/m2/s,"3,22",80,0.82,2,17.45,93.96,1,251,,,0.94,3.74,2.54,2,2.74,1.5,"5,15",1.3,"15,25",,,-136,111,
106,5,5,,0,5,5,,,,0,0,150,80,120,70,50,,41800,70,LAI from Bond-Lamberty (2002); C from Wang (2003) and Gower (1997),

2,2008/09/26,2534,Bond-Lamberty,,V02,BBL,Canada,Manitoba,BOREAS NSA-D1995,2001.5,1.5,56.46,-99.97,,None,,,6,
Picea mariana; Pinus banksiana; Populus tremuloides,Boreal,Forest,Natural,Deciduous,Aggrading,Gray luvisol (Boralf),Dry,,,,0.8,450,,,,Closed,IRGA,Exclusion,85,,,,,,,,9,76,0.11,,,,,0.6,,,0.25,Growing,"Arrhenius, R=a*exp(-b/c(T-d)),
T in K",Positive,umol/m2/s,"3,22",53,0.75,2,9.79,71.72,1,251,,,1.05,2.74,2.04,1.7,2.16,1.5,"5,15",1.3,"15,25",,,-134,188.5,
183.5,5,20.3,,2,20.3,22.3,,,,0.1,0.5,130,90,70,40,30,,41800,70,LAI from Bond-Lamberty (2002); C from Wang (2003) and Gower (1997),

File Description:srdb-studies_v1.csv

Field_number Field_name Field_description
1 Study_number Study number; used as a lookup from srdb-data
2 Authors Study authors
3 Title Study title
4 Source Study source (usually journal name)
5 Volume Volume number
6 Issue Issue number
7 BP Beginning page
8 EP Ending page
9 Pub_year Publication year
10 Notes Notes
11 Abstract Abstract
12 Citations Citations
13 DE Data entry: entered into srdb-data (Y, N)?
14 DLD Downloaded: study acquired (Y/N)?
15 DOI Digital object identifier
16 nonEnglish Is study in a non-English language (Y/N)?
17 Rank Rank (1=highly relevant, 4=not relevant)
18 Search_date Date search performed
19 Search_term Web of Science search term used

Example Data Records:


14,"Maldague, M.E.; Hilger, F.",Observations fauntistique et microbiologiques dans quelques biotopes forestiers equatoriaux,"Soil organisms (ed: Doeksen, van der Drift)",,,368,374,1963,,,,Valya,Y,Y,,N,2,9/26/2008,R&S1992,,,
17,Monteith,Crop photosynthesis and the flux of carbon dioxide below the canopy,Journal of Applied Ecology,1,,321,337,1964,,,,,Y,Y,,N,1,9/26/2008,R&S1992; B-L2004,,,
4675,"Martins FR, Matthes LAF
","Respiracao edafica e nutrientes na Amazonia (Regiao de Manaus): floresta arenicola, campinarana e campina", Acta Amazonica,8,,233,244,1978,,,,,Y,Y,,Y,,,,,,

Expanded descriptions and usage notes for a number of fields in the soil respiration data file "srdb-data_v1.csv"

Ecosystem_state:  This and a number of the other 'subjective' fields (marked with an asterisk) are highly subjective.

Age_ecosystem:  This is used when, e.g., the time of conversion of forest to agriculture is known. In contrast, age_disturbance records time of last disturbance in general.

Partition_method:  See Bond-Lamberty et al. (2004) in Global Change Biology for an explanation of the categories used here.

Rs_spatial_err:  Note that spatial scale is typically that of the plot (tens of meters) but can vary by several orders of magnitude.

Rs_interann_err:  This is defined simply as the standard deviation between year i and year i+1, so n=2 always, and this field will be blank in at least one observation for each study.

T_depth:  Depth at which soil temperature recorded given in cm; a value of -200 (i.e., 2 m above ground is used for air temperature).

Litter_flux:  This is reported very inconsistently--leaf only, leaf and fine woody material, all material, etc. Generally this should not include large woody material.

TotDet_flux:  This should be the sum of Litter_flux and Rootlitter_flux.

C_veg_total:  This should be the sum of C_AG and C_BG. For this and all "C_" fields, biomass has been converted to carbon using a ratio of 0.5.

Last updated: 2010/04/23

Site boundaries: (All latitude and longitude given in degrees and fractions)

Site (Region) Westernmost Longitude Easternmost Longitude Northernmost Latitude Southernmost Latitude Geodetic Datum
Global (point) () -159.62 175.5 78 -78.02 Unknown

Time period:

3. Data Application and Derivation:

This is a database compiled from published studies about soil surface CO2 flux (soil respiration) measured in the field and intended to serve as a resource for scientific analysis. 

The primary RS units used were gC/m2/yr (for annual fluxes) and μmol/m2/s (for mean seasonal fluxes); values were converted as necessary from those given by study authors. A variety of ancillary data were also entered when reported, including site-related and experimental data, information on ecosystem structure and function, methods used, etc.; we assumed a 12:44 ratio of C to CO2 molecular weights, and that biomass was 50% C (unless specified otherwise in the study).

4. Quality Assessment:

Data were crosschecked against a number of other RS data collections and meta-analyses (Hibbard et al., 2005; Chen and Tian, 2005; Burton et al., 2008; Sotta et al., 2004). Quality flags were assigned based on information provided in a given study and best judgment.

5. Data Acquisition Materials and Methods:

Investigators collected all available studies in the peer-reviewed scientific literature reporting RS measured in the field; lab incubation studies were not included. The ISI Web of Science™ constituted the primary source of published studies; search terms used included “soil respiration,” “soil CO2 evolution,” etc., and were conducted through the 2008 publication  year. We used each study’s title and abstract to decide whether to acquire it; ~40% of the almost 4700 studies were acquired and examined.

Short term experiments (i.e., RS measurements made over less than 1-2 weeks) were not entered unless the study authors extrapolated their results to seasonal or annual values; the database is in general not designed to accommodate instantaneous or short-term measurements. In general we did not do additional research to find older publications that might not be listed in the Web of Science.  To qualify for inclusion, a study had to report at least one of the following data:

If at least one of these data was reported, or could be calculated with few or no assumptions, e.g., easily estimated from points in a figure, the study was entered into the database. For example, sometimes a study will show monthly soil respiration in a figure but not compute an annual flux, and so estimates were made from the figure. This was noted in a Quality flag.

When it was necessary to calculate or estimate annual flux for one of the studies, these calculations and notes were recorded in an Excel spreadsheet which may be opened in MSExcel, OpenOffice, etc. File names start with the assigned four-digit study number that indexes the srdb-studies and srdb-data files. For example, "0020 Witkamp Ecology 1966.xlsx" and "4634 Webster JGR 2008.xlsx". These spreadsheets are provided as a companion file and have been compiled and compressed into a single file,

6. Data Access:

This data is available through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC).

Data Archive Center:

Contact for Data Center Access Information:

Telephone: +1 (865) 241-3952

7. References:

Bond-Lamberty, B. and A.M. Thomson. 2010. A global database of soil respiration measurements, Biogeosciences (submitted).

Burton, A. J., Melillo, J. M., and Frey, S. D. 2008.: Adjustment of forest ecosystem root respiration as temperature warms, Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, 50, 1467-1483, doi:10.1111/j.1744-7909.2008.00750.x.

Chen, H., and Tian, H.-Q. 2005. Does a general temperature-dependent Q(10) model of soil respiration exist at biome and global scale?, Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, 47, 1288-1302.

Hibbard, K. A., Law, B. E., and Sulzman, J. 2005. An analysis of soil respiration across northern hemisphere temperate ecosystems, Biogeochemistry, 73, 29-70, doi:10.1007/s10533-004-2946-0.

Sotta, E. D., Meir, P., Malhi, Y., Nobre, A. D., Hodnett, M., and Grace, J. 2004. Soil CO2 efflux in a tropical forest in the central Amazon, Global Change Biol., 10, 601-617, doi:10.1111/j.1529-8817.2003.00761.x.