A GENERAL BIOGEOCHEMICAL MODEL DESCRIBING THE RESPONSES OF THE C-CYCLE AND N-CYCLE IN TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS TO CHANGES IN CO2, CLIMATE, AND N-DEPOSITION Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • A model that simulates carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles in terrestrial ecosystems is developed. The model is based on the principle that the responses of terrestrial ecosystems to changes in CO2, climate, and N deposition will encompass enzymatic responses, shifts in tissue stoichiometry, changes in biomass allocation among plant tissues, altered rates of soil organic matter turnover and N mineralization, and ultimately a redistribution of C and N between vegetation and soils. The model is a highly aggregated, process-based, biogeochemical model designed to examine changes in the fluxes and allocation of C and N among foliage, fine roots, stems, and soils in response to changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration, temperature, soil water, irradiance, and inorganic nitrogen inputs. We use the model to explore how changes in CO2 concentration, temperature, and N inputs affect carbon storage in two ecosystems: arctic tundra and temperate hardwood forest. The qualitative responses of the two ecosystems were similar. Quantitative differences are attributed to the inital distribution of C and N between vegetation and soils, to the amounts of woody tissue in the two ecosystems, and to their relative degree of N limitation. We conclude with a critical analysis of the model’s strengths and weaknesses, and discuss possible future directions.