Dynamic global vegetation model
A Dynamic Global Vegetation Model (DGVM) is a computer program that simulates shifts in potential vegetation and its associated biogeochemical and hydrological cycles as a response to shifts in climate. DGVMs use time series of climate data and, given constraints of latitude, topography, and soil characteristics, simulate monthly or daily dynamics of ecosystem processes. DGVMs are used most often to simulate the effects of future climate change on natural vegetation and its carbon and water cycles.
DGVMs generally combine biogeochemistry, biogeography, and disturbance submodels. Disturbance is often limited to wildfires, but in principle could include any of: forest/land management decisions, windthrow, insect damage, ozone damage etc. DGVMs usually "spin up" their simulations from bare ground to "equilibrium" vegetation to establish realistic initial values for their various "pools": carbon and nitrogen in live and dead vegetation, soil organic matter, etc. corresponding to a documented historical vegetation cover.
DGVMs are usually run in a spatially distributed mode, with simulations carried out for thousands of "cells", geographic points which are assumed to have homogeneous conditions within each cell. Simulations are carried out across a range of spatial scales, from global to landscape. Cells are usually arranged as lattice points; the distance between adjacent lattice points may be as coarse as a few degrees of latitude or longitude, or as fine as 30 arc-seconds. Simulations of the conterminous United States in the first DGVM comparison exercise (LPJ and MC1) called the VEMAP project in the 1990s used a lattice grain of one-half degree. Global simulations by the PIK group and collaborators  using 6 different DGVMs (HYBRID, IBIS, LPJ, SDGVM, TRIFFID, and VECODE) used the same resolution as the general circulation model (GCM) that provided the climate data, 3.75 deg longitude x 2.5 deg latitude, a total of 1631 land grid cells. Sometimes lattice distances are specified in kilometers rather than angular measure, especially for finer grains, so a project like VEMAP  is often referred to as 50 km grain.
Several DGVMs appeared in the middle 1990s. The first was apparently IBIS (Foley et al., 1996), VECODE (Brovkin et al., 1997), followed by several others described below:
Several DGVMs have been developed by various research groups around the world:
- HYBRID - U.K.
- SDGVM - U.K.
- SEIB-DGVM - Japan
- TRIFFID - U.K.
- VECODE - Germany
- CLM-DVGM - U.S.
The next generation of models - earth system models (ex. CCSM, ORCHIDEE, JULES, CTEM ) - now includes the important feedbacks from the biosphere to the atmosphere so that vegetation shifts and changes in the carbon and hydrological cycles affect the climate.
DGVMs commonly simulate a variety of plant and soil physiological processes. The processes simulated by various DGVMs are summarized in the table below. Abbreviations are: NPP, net primary production; PFT, plant functional type; SAW, soil available water; LAI, leaf area index; I, solar radiation; T, air temperature; Wr, root zone water supply; PET, potential evapotranspiration; vegc, total live vegetation carbon.
|shortest time step||1 hour||IBIS, ED2|
|1 day||LPJ, SDGVM, SEIB-DGVM, MC1 fire submodel|
|1 month||MC1 except fire submodel|
|photosynthesis||Farquhar et al. (1980)||HYBRID|
|Farquhar et al. (1980)
Collatz et al. (1992)
|IBIS, LPJ, SDGVM|
|Collatz et al. (1991)
Collatz et al. (1992)
|stomatal conductance||Jarvis (1976)
|Leuning (1995)||IBIS, SDGVM, SEIB-DGVM|
|Haxeltine & Prentice (1996)||LPJ|
|Cox et al. (1998)||TRIFFID|
|production||forest NPP = f(PFT, vegc, T, SAW, P, ...)
grass NPP = f(PFT, vegc, T, SAW, P, light competition, ...)
|GPP = f(I, LAI, T, Wr, PET, CO2)||LPJ|
|competition||for light, water, and N||MC1, HYBRID|
|for light and water||LPJ, IBIS, SDGVM, SEIB-DGVM|
|Lotka-Volterra in fractional cover||TRIFFID|
|establishment||All PFTs establish uniformly as small individuals||HYBRID|
|Climatically favored PFTs establish uniformly, as small individuals||SEIB-DGVM|
|Climatically favored PFTs establish uniformly, as small LAI increment||IBIS|
|Climatically favored PFTs establish in proportion to area available, as small individuals||LPJ, SDGVM|
|Minimum 'seed' fraction for all PFTs||TRIFFID|
|mortality||Dependent on carbon pools||HYBRID|
|Deterministic baseline, wind throw, fire, extreme temperatures||IBIS|
|Deterministic baseline, self-thinning, carbon balance, fire, extreme temperatures||LPJ, SEIB-DGVM, ED2|
|Carbon balance, wind throw, fire, extreme temperatures||SDGVM|
|Prescribed disturbance rate for each PFT||TRIFFID|
|Climate-dependent, based on carbon balance||VECODE|
|Self-thinning, fire, extreme temperatures, drought||MC1|
- VEMAP Members. 1995. Vegetation/ecosystem modeling and analysis project: comparing biogeography and biogeochemistry models in a continental-scale study of terrestrial ecosystem responses to climate change and CO2 doubling. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 9(4):407-437
- Cramer, W., A. Bondeau, F.I. Woodward, I.C. Prentice, R. Betts, V. Brovkin, P.M. Cox, V. Fischer, J.A. Foley, A.D. Friend, C. Kucharik, M.R. Lomas, N. Ramankutty, S. Sitch, B. Smith, A. White, and C. Young-Molling. 2001. Global response of terrestrial ecosystem structure and function to CO2 and climate change: results from six dynamic global vegetation models. Global Change Biology 7:357-373
- Sitch S, Smith B, Prentice IC, Arneth A, Bondeau A, Cramer W, Kaplan JO, Levis S, Lucht W, Sykes MT, Thonicke K, Venevsky S 2003. Evaluation of ecosystem dynamics, plant geography and terrestrial carbon cycling in the LPJ Dynamic Global Vegetation Model. Global Change Biology 9, 161-185.
- Foley, J. A., I. C. Prentice, N. Ramankutty, S. Levis, D. Pollard, S. Sitch, and A. Haxeltine. 1996. An integrated biosphere model of land surface processes, terrestrial carbon balance, and vegetation dynamics. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 10(4), 603-628.
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- Foley, J. A., C. J. Kucharik, and D. Polzin. 2005. Integrated Biosphere Simulator Model (IBIS), Version 2.5. Model product. Available on-line  from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A. doi:10.3334/ORNLDAAC/808.
- Bachelet D, Lenihan JM, Daly C, Neilson RP, Ojima DS, Parton WJ (2001). MC1: a dynamic vegetation model for estimating the distribution of vegetation and associated carbon, nutrients, and water -- technical documentation. Version 1.0. General Technical Report PNW-GTR-508. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station.
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- MC1 website
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