Reimplementation of the BIOME-BGC model to simulate successional change
Thornton, Peter E.
Ahl, Douglas E.
Gower, Stith T.
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Biogeochemical process models are increasingly employed to simulate current and future forest dynamics, but most simulate only a single canopy type. This limitation means that mixed stands, canopy succession and understory dynamics cannot be modeled, severe handicaps in many forests. The goals of this study were to develop a version of Biome-BGC that supported multiple, interacting vegetation types, and to assess its performance and limitations by comparing modeled results to published data from a 150-year boreal black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) BSP) chronosequence in northern Manitoba, Canada. Model data structures and logic were modified to support an arbitrary number of interacting vegetation types; an explicit height calculation was necessary to prioritize radiation and precipitation interception. Two vegetation types, evergreen needle-leaf and deciduous broadleaf, were modeled based on site-specific meteorological and physiological data. The new version of Biome-BGC reliably simulated observed changes in leaf area, net primary production and carbon stocks, and should be useful for modeling the dynamics of mixed-species stands and ecological succession. We discuss the strengths and limitations of Biome-BGC for this application, and note areas in which further work is necessary for reliable simulation of boreal biogeochemical cycling at a landscape scale.