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Parameter uncertainties in the modelling of vegetation dynamics — effects on tree community structure and ecosystem functioning in European forest biomes

Wramneby, Anna LU ; Smith, Benjamin LU ; Zaehle, S and Sykes, Martin LU (2008) In Ecological Modelling 216. p.277-290
Abstract
Dynamic vegetation models are useful tools for analysing terrestrial ecosystem processes and their interactions with climate through variations in carbon and water exchange. Long-term changes in structure and composition (vegetation dynamics) caused by altered competitive strength between plant functional types (PFTs) are attracting increasing attention as controls on ecosystem functioning and potential feedbacks to climate. Imperfect process knowledge and limited observational data restrict the possibility to parameterise these processes adequately and potentially contribute to uncertainty in model results. This study addresses uncertainty among parameters scaling vegetation dynamic processes in a process-based ecosystem model, LPJ-GUESS,... (More)
Dynamic vegetation models are useful tools for analysing terrestrial ecosystem processes and their interactions with climate through variations in carbon and water exchange. Long-term changes in structure and composition (vegetation dynamics) caused by altered competitive strength between plant functional types (PFTs) are attracting increasing attention as controls on ecosystem functioning and potential feedbacks to climate. Imperfect process knowledge and limited observational data restrict the possibility to parameterise these processes adequately and potentially contribute to uncertainty in model results. This study addresses uncertainty among parameters scaling vegetation dynamic processes in a process-based ecosystem model, LPJ-GUESS, designed for regional-scale studies, with the objective to assess the extent to which this uncertainty propagates to additional uncertainty in the tree community structure (in terms of the tree functional types present and their relative abundance) and thus to ecosystem functioning (carbon storage and fluxes). The results clearly indicate that the uncertainties in parameterisation can lead to a shift in competitive balance, most strikingly among deciduous tree PFTs, with dominance of either shade-tolerant or shade-intolerant PFTs being possible, depending on the choice of plausible parameter values. Despite this uncertainty, our results indicate that the resulting effect on ecosystem functioning is low. Since the vegetation dynamics in LPJ-GUESS are representative for the more complex Earth system models now being applied within ecosystem and climate research, we assume that our findings will be of general relevance. We suggest that, in terms of carbon storage and fluxes, the heavier parameterisation requirement of the processes involved does not widen the overall uncertainty in model predictions. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
ecosystem models Latin hypercube sampling LPJ-GUESS, EUROFLUX, establishment, mortality, carbon fluxes
in
Ecological Modelling
volume
216
pages
277 - 290
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000258557400003
  • scopus:48949115273
ISSN
0304-3800
DOI
10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2008.04.013
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8a4289e5-91d4-4a9f-b5e1-f01285196891 (old id 1181905)
alternative location
http://www.nateko.lu.se/personal/Benjamin.Smith/smith_pubs.asp
date added to LUP
2008-09-24 15:21:46
date last changed
2017-10-22 04:28:00
@article{8a4289e5-91d4-4a9f-b5e1-f01285196891,
  abstract     = {Dynamic vegetation models are useful tools for analysing terrestrial ecosystem processes and their interactions with climate through variations in carbon and water exchange. Long-term changes in structure and composition (vegetation dynamics) caused by altered competitive strength between plant functional types (PFTs) are attracting increasing attention as controls on ecosystem functioning and potential feedbacks to climate. Imperfect process knowledge and limited observational data restrict the possibility to parameterise these processes adequately and potentially contribute to uncertainty in model results. This study addresses uncertainty among parameters scaling vegetation dynamic processes in a process-based ecosystem model, LPJ-GUESS, designed for regional-scale studies, with the objective to assess the extent to which this uncertainty propagates to additional uncertainty in the tree community structure (in terms of the tree functional types present and their relative abundance) and thus to ecosystem functioning (carbon storage and fluxes). The results clearly indicate that the uncertainties in parameterisation can lead to a shift in competitive balance, most strikingly among deciduous tree PFTs, with dominance of either shade-tolerant or shade-intolerant PFTs being possible, depending on the choice of plausible parameter values. Despite this uncertainty, our results indicate that the resulting effect on ecosystem functioning is low. Since the vegetation dynamics in LPJ-GUESS are representative for the more complex Earth system models now being applied within ecosystem and climate research, we assume that our findings will be of general relevance. We suggest that, in terms of carbon storage and fluxes, the heavier parameterisation requirement of the processes involved does not widen the overall uncertainty in model predictions. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.},
  author       = {Wramneby, Anna and Smith, Benjamin and Zaehle, S and Sykes, Martin},
  issn         = {0304-3800},
  keyword      = {ecosystem models
Latin hypercube sampling
LPJ-GUESS,EUROFLUX,establishment,mortality,carbon fluxes},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {277--290},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Ecological Modelling},
  title        = {Parameter uncertainties in the modelling of vegetation dynamics — effects on tree community structure and ecosystem functioning in European forest biomes},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2008.04.013},
  volume       = {216},
  year         = {2008},
}