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Title: Taking off the training wheels: the properties of a dynamic vegetation model without climate envelopes

We describe an implementation of the Ecosystem Demography (ED) concept in the Community Land Model. The structure of CLM(ED) and the physiological and structural modifications applied to the CLM are presented. A major motivation of this development is to allow the prediction of biome boundaries directly from plant physiological traits via their competitive interactions. Here we investigate the performance of the model for an example biome boundary in Eastern North America. We explore the sensitivity of the predicted biome boundaries and ecosystem properties to the variation of leaf properties determined by the parameter space defined by the GLOPNET global leaf trait database. Further, we investigate the impact of four sequential alterations to the structural assumptions in the model governing the relative carbon economy of deciduous and evergreen plants. The default assumption is that the costs and benefits of deciduous vs. evergreen leaf strategies, in terms of carbon assimilation and expenditure, can reproduce the geographical structure of biome boundaries and ecosystem functioning. We find some support for this assumption, but only under particular combinations of model traits and structural assumptions. Many questions remain regarding the preferred methods for deployment of plant trait information in land surface models. In some cases, plantmore » traits might best be closely linked with each other, but we also find support for direct linkages to environmental conditions. We advocate for intensified study of the costs and benefits of plant life history strategies in different environments, and for the increased use of parametric and structural ensembles in the development and analysis of complex vegetation models.« less
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  1. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  3. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  4. Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geoscientific Model Development Discussions (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Geoscientific Model Development Discussions (Online); Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 1991-962X
European Geosciences Union
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: