PEATBOG: a biogeochemical model for analyzing coupled carbon and nitrogen dynamics in northern peatlands
Elevated nitrogen deposition and climate change alter the vegetation communities and carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling in peatlands. To address this issue we developed a new process-oriented biogeochemical model (PEATBOG) for analyzing coupled carbon and nitrogen dynamics in northern peatlands. The model consists of four submodels, which simulate: (1) daily water table depth and depth profiles of soil moisture, temperature and oxygen levels; (2) competition among three plants functional types (PFTs), production and litter production of plants; (3) decomposition of peat; and (4) production, consumption, diffusion and export of dissolved C and N species in soil water. The model is novel in the integration of the C and N cycles, the explicit spatial resolution belowground, the consistent conceptualization of movement of water and solutes, the incorporation of stoichiometric controls on elemental fluxes and a consistent conceptualization of C and N reactivity in vegetation and soil organic matter. The model was evaluated for the Mer Bleue Bog, near Ottawa, Ontario, with regards to simulation of soil moisture and temperature and the most important processes in the C and N cycles. Model sensitivity was tested for nitrogen input, precipitation, and temperature, and the choices of the most uncertain parameters were justified. A simulation of nitrogen deposition over 40 yr demonstrates the advantages of the PEATBOG model in tracking biogeochemical effects and vegetation change in the ecosystem.