Simulating the effect of tillage practices with the global ecosystem model LPJmL (version 5.0-tillage)

Lutz, Femke; Herzfeld, Tobias; Heinke, Jens; Rolinski, Susanne; Schaphoff, Sibyll; von Bloh, Werner; Stoorvogel, Jetse J.; Müller, Christoph

The effects of tillage on soil properties, crop productivity, and global greenhouse gas emissions have been discussed in the last decades. Global ecosystem models have limited capacity to simulate the various effects of tillage. With respect to the decomposition of soil organic matter, they either assume a constant increase due to tillage or they ignore the effects of tillage. Hence, they do not allow for analysing the effects of tillage and cannot evaluate, for example, reduced tillage or no tillage (referred to here as “no-till”) practises as mitigation practices for climate change. In this paper, we describe the implementation of tillage-related practices in the global ecosystem model LPJmL. The extended model is evaluated against reported differences between tillage and no-till management on several soil properties. To this end, simulation results are compared with published meta-analyses on tillage effects. In general, the model is able to reproduce observed tillage effects on global, as well as regional, patterns of carbon and water fluxes. However, modelled N fluxes deviate from the literature values and need further study. The addition of the tillage module to LPJmL5 opens up opportunities to assess the impact of agricultural soil management practices under different scenarios with implications for agricultural productivity, carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions, and other environmental indicators.

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Lutz, Femke / Herzfeld, Tobias / Heinke, Jens / et al: Simulating the effect of tillage practices with the global ecosystem model LPJmL (version 5.0-tillage). 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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