Models meet data: Challenges and opportunities in implementing land management in Earth system models

Julia Pongratz, Han Dolman, Axel Don, Karl Heinz Erb, Richard Fuchs, Martin Herold, Chris Jones, Tobias Kuemmerle, Sebastiaan Luyssaert, Patrick Meyfroidt, Kim Naudts

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

As the applications of Earth system models (ESMs) move from general climate projections toward questions of mitigation and adaptation, the inclusion of land management practices in these models becomes crucial. We carried out a survey among modeling groups to show an evolution from models able only to deal with land-cover change to more sophisticated approaches that allow also for the partial integration of land management changes. For the longer term a comprehensive land management representation can be anticipated for all major models. To guide the prioritization of implementation, we evaluate ten land management practices—forestry harvest, tree species selection, grazing and mowing harvest, crop harvest, crop species selection, irrigation, wetland drainage, fertilization, tillage, and fire—for (1) their importance on the Earth system, (2) the possibility of implementing them in state-of-the-art ESMs, and (3) availability of required input data. Matching these criteria, we identify “low-hanging fruits” for the inclusion in ESMs, such as basic implementations of crop and forestry harvest and fertilization. We also identify research requirements for specific communities to address the remaining land management practices. Data availability severely hampers modeling the most extensive land management practice, grazing and mowing harvest, and is a limiting factor for a comprehensive implementation of most other practices. Inadequate process understanding hampers even a basic assessment of crop species selection and tillage effects. The need for multiple advanced model structures will be the challenge for a comprehensive implementation of most practices but considerable synergy can be gained using the same structures for different practices. A continuous and closer collaboration of the modeling, Earth observation, and land system science communities is thus required to achieve the inclusion of land management in ESMs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1470-1487
Number of pages18
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Volume24
Issue number4
Early online date13 Dec 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

Fingerprint

land management
Earth (planet)
Crops
management practice
crop
mowing
tillage
Availability
grazing
Systems science
modeling
Forestry
Wetlands
Fruits
Model structures
Irrigation
prioritization
Drainage
limiting factor
forestry

Keywords

  • climate
  • croplands
  • Earth observations
  • Earth system models
  • forestry
  • grazing
  • land management
  • land use

Cite this

Pongratz, Julia ; Dolman, Han ; Don, Axel ; Erb, Karl Heinz ; Fuchs, Richard ; Herold, Martin ; Jones, Chris ; Kuemmerle, Tobias ; Luyssaert, Sebastiaan ; Meyfroidt, Patrick ; Naudts, Kim. / Models meet data : Challenges and opportunities in implementing land management in Earth system models. In: Global Change Biology. 2018 ; Vol. 24, No. 4. pp. 1470-1487.
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Pongratz, J, Dolman, H, Don, A, Erb, KH, Fuchs, R, Herold, M, Jones, C, Kuemmerle, T, Luyssaert, S, Meyfroidt, P & Naudts, K 2018, 'Models meet data: Challenges and opportunities in implementing land management in Earth system models' Global Change Biology, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 1470-1487. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13988

Models meet data : Challenges and opportunities in implementing land management in Earth system models. / Pongratz, Julia; Dolman, Han; Don, Axel; Erb, Karl Heinz; Fuchs, Richard; Herold, Martin; Jones, Chris; Kuemmerle, Tobias; Luyssaert, Sebastiaan; Meyfroidt, Patrick; Naudts, Kim.

In: Global Change Biology, Vol. 24, No. 4, 04.2018, p. 1470-1487.

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Pongratz, Julia

AU - Dolman, Han

AU - Don, Axel

AU - Erb, Karl Heinz

AU - Fuchs, Richard

AU - Herold, Martin

AU - Jones, Chris

AU - Kuemmerle, Tobias

AU - Luyssaert, Sebastiaan

AU - Meyfroidt, Patrick

AU - Naudts, Kim

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N2 - As the applications of Earth system models (ESMs) move from general climate projections toward questions of mitigation and adaptation, the inclusion of land management practices in these models becomes crucial. We carried out a survey among modeling groups to show an evolution from models able only to deal with land-cover change to more sophisticated approaches that allow also for the partial integration of land management changes. For the longer term a comprehensive land management representation can be anticipated for all major models. To guide the prioritization of implementation, we evaluate ten land management practices—forestry harvest, tree species selection, grazing and mowing harvest, crop harvest, crop species selection, irrigation, wetland drainage, fertilization, tillage, and fire—for (1) their importance on the Earth system, (2) the possibility of implementing them in state-of-the-art ESMs, and (3) availability of required input data. Matching these criteria, we identify “low-hanging fruits” for the inclusion in ESMs, such as basic implementations of crop and forestry harvest and fertilization. We also identify research requirements for specific communities to address the remaining land management practices. Data availability severely hampers modeling the most extensive land management practice, grazing and mowing harvest, and is a limiting factor for a comprehensive implementation of most other practices. Inadequate process understanding hampers even a basic assessment of crop species selection and tillage effects. The need for multiple advanced model structures will be the challenge for a comprehensive implementation of most practices but considerable synergy can be gained using the same structures for different practices. A continuous and closer collaboration of the modeling, Earth observation, and land system science communities is thus required to achieve the inclusion of land management in ESMs.

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