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ForCent model development and testing using the Enriched Background Isotope Study experiment

  • Author(s): Parton, William J
  • Hanson, Paul J
  • Swanston, Chris
  • Torn, Margaret
  • Trumbore, Susan E
  • Riley, William
  • Kelly, Robin
  • et al.
Abstract

 The ForCent forest ecosystem model was developed by making major revisions to the DayCent model including: (1) adding a humus organic pool, (2) incorporating a detailed root growth model, and (3) including plant phenological growth patterns. Observed plant production and soil respiration data from 1993 to 2000 were used to demonstrate that the ForCent model could accurately simulate ecosystem carbon dynamics for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory deciduous forest. A comparison of ForCent versus observed soil pool14C signature (Δ 14C) data from the Enriched Background Isotope Study 14C experiment (1999–2006) shows that the model correctly simulates the temporal dynamics of the 14C label as it moved from the surface litter and roots into the mineral soil organic matter pools. ForCent model validation was performed by comparing the observed Enriched Background Isotope Study experimental data with simulated live and dead root biomass Δ 14C data, and with soil respiration Δ 14C (mineral soil, humus layer, leaf litter layer, and total soil respiration) data. Results show that the model correctly simulates the impact of the Enriched Background Isotope Study 14C experimental treatments on soil respiration Δ 14C values for the different soil organic matter pools. Model results suggest that a two-pool root growth model correctly represents root carbon dynamics and inputs to the soil. The model fitting process and sensitivity analysis exposed uncertainty in our estimates of the fraction of mineral soil in the slow and passive pools, dissolved organic carbon flux out of the litter layer into the mineral soil, and mixing of the humus layer into the mineral soil layer.

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