Terrestrial ecosystem modelling

The terrestrial ecosystem is the main carbon storage in the Earth system. The above-ground carbon (seen as forest and individual trees) is unevenly distributed in regions due to the dynamics of vegetation in response to different environmental conditions. Take South America for example, the wet Amazonian regions usually can embrace dense rainforest, while the semi-arid Cerrado region has savanna-like ecosystems with relatively low above-ground biomass compared to the rainforest.

Fig. 1. Vegetation-climate feedbacks influence land surface processes, including surface energy fluxes (a), the hydrological cycle (b) and the terrestrial carbon cycle (c). From (Bonan, 2008), reprinted with permission from AAAS.

Dynamic Global Vegetation Models (DGVM) is a useful tool to extrapolate vegetation dynamics in space and time, and has become an important component in Earth system models for the studies of climate change. LPJ-GUESS is a second-generation DGVM (Smith et al., 2001) and is the main tool in my research.

My work related to ecosystem modelling using LPJ-GUESS includes:

  • Fire modelling (Wu et al., 2015)

  • Ecosystem productivity and above-ground biomass modelling (Wu et al., 2017; 2021)

  • Ecosystem transition (Wu et al., 2021)

  • Vegetation variability in response to climate extremes (ongoing)


Wu et al., 2021. Vegetation‐climate feedbacks enhance spatial heterogeneity of pan‐amazonian ecosystem states under climate change. GRL: doi/10.1029/2020GL092001

Wu et al., 2017. Impacts of land use on climate and ecosystem productivity over the Amazon and the South American continent. ERL: doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aa6fd6

Wu et al., 2015. Sensitivity of burned area in Europe to climate change, atmospheric CO2 levels, and demography: A comparison of two fire-vegetation models. JGR. doi.wiley.com/10.1002/2015JG003036

Smith, B., Prentice, I.C. & Sykes, M.T., 2001. Representation of vegetation dynamics in the modelling of terrestrial ecosystems: comparing two contrasting approaches within European climate space: Vegetation dynamics in ecosystem models. Global ecology and biogeography: a journal of macroecology, 10(6), pp.621–637.