CoupModel (v6.0): an ecosystem model for coupled phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon dynamics – evaluated against empirical data from a climatic and fertility gradient in Sweden

He, Hongxing; Jansson, Per-Erik; Gärdenäs, Annemieke I.

This study presents the integration of the phosphorus (P) cycle into CoupModel (v6.0, referred to as Coup-CNP). The extended Coup-CNP, which explicitly considers the symbiosis between soil microbes and plant roots, enables simulations of coupled carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and P dynamics for terrestrial ecosystems. The model was evaluated against observed forest growth and measured leaf inline-formulaC∕P, inline-formulaC∕N, and inline-formulaN∕P ratios in four managed forest regions in Sweden. The four regions form a climatic and fertility gradient from 64inline-formula N (northern Sweden) to 56inline-formula N (southern Sweden), with mean annual temperature varying from 0.7–7.1 inline-formulaC and soil inline-formulaC∕N and inline-formulaC∕P ratios varying between 19.8–31.5 and 425–633, respectively. The growth of the southern forests was found to be P-limited, with harvested biomass representing the largest P losses over the studied rotation period. The simulated P budgets revealed that southern forests are losing P, while northern forests have balanced P budgets. Symbiotic fungi accounted for half of total plant P uptake across all four regions, which highlights the importance of fungal-tree interactions in Swedish forests. The results of a sensitivity analysis demonstrated that optimal forest growth occurs at a soil inline-formulaN∕P ratio between 15–20. A soil inline-formulaN∕P ratio above 15–20 will result in decreased soil C sequestration and P leaching, along with a significant increase in N leaching. The simulations showed that Coup-CNP could describe shifting from being mostly N-limited to mostly P-limited and vice versa. The potential P-limitation of terrestrial ecosystems highlights the need for biogeochemical ecosystem models to consider the P cycle. We conclude that the inclusion of the P cycle enabled the Coup-CNP to account for various feedback mechanisms that have a significant impact on ecosystem C sequestration and N leaching under climate change and/or elevated N deposition.

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He, Hongxing / Jansson, Per-Erik / Gärdenäs, Annemieke I.: CoupModel (v6.0): an ecosystem model for coupled phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon dynamics – evaluated against empirical data from a climatic and fertility gradient in Sweden. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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