Developing and optimizing shrub parameters representing sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems in the Northern Great Basin using the Ecosystem Demography (EDv2.2) model

Geoscientific Model Development
By: , and 



Ecosystem dynamic models are useful for understanding ecosystem characteristics over time and space because of their efficiency over direct field measurements and applicability to broad spatial extents. Their application, however, is challenging due to internal model uncertainties and complexities arising from distinct qualities of the ecosystems being analyzed. The sagebrush-steppe in western North America, for example, has substantial spatial and temporal heterogeneity as well as variability due to anthropogenic disturbance, invasive species, climate change, and altered fire regimes, which collectively make modelling dynamic ecosystem processes difficult. Ecosystem Demography (EDv2.2) is a robust ecosystem dynamic model, initially developed for tropical forests, that simulates energy, water, and carbon fluxes at fine scales. Although EDv2.2 has since been tested on different ecosystems via development of different Plant Function Types (PFT), it still lacks a shrub PFT. In this study, we developed and parameterized a shrub PFT representative of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems in order to initialize and test it within EDv2.2, and to promote future broad-scale analysis of restoration activities, climate change, and fire regimes in the sagebrush-steppe. Specifically, we parameterized the sagebrush PFT within EDv2.2 to estimate gross primary production (GPP), using data from two sagebrush study sites in the northern Great Basin. To accomplish this, we employed a three-tier approach: 1) To initially parameterize the sagebrush PFT, we fitted allometric relationships for sagebrush using field-collected data, information from existing sagebrush literature, and parameters from other land models. 2) To determine influential parameters in GPP prediction, we used a sensitivity analysis to identify the five most sensitive parameters. 3) To improve model performance and validate results, we optimized these five parameters using an exhaustive search method to estimate GPP, and compared results with observations from two Eddy Covariance (EC) sites in the study area. Our modeled results were encouraging, with reasonable fidelity to observed values, although some negative biases (i.e., seasonal underestimates of GPP) were apparent.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Developing and optimizing shrub parameters representing sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems in the Northern Great Basin using the Ecosystem Demography (EDv2.2) model
Series title Geoscientific Model Development
DOI 10.5194/gmd-12-4585-2019
Volume 12
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher European Geosciences Union
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description 17 p.
First page 4585
Last page 4601
Country United States
Other Geospatial Great Basin
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