Modeling coupled biogeochemical cycles Academic Article uri icon


  • Organisms require about 30 essential elements to sustain life. The cycles of these elements are coupled to one another through the specific physiological requirements of the organisms. Here, I contrast several approaches to modeling coupled biogeochemical cycles using an example of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus accumulation in a Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) forest ecosystem and the response of that forest to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and global warming. Which of these approaches is most appropriate is subject to debate and probably depends on context; nevertheless, this question must be answered if scientists are to understand ecosystems and how they might respond to a changing global environment.

publication date

  • February 2011