Journal cover Journal topic
Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/gmd-2017-26
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Model description paper
21 Feb 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).
Modeling vegetation and carbon dynamics of managed grasslands at the global scale with LPJmL 3.6
Susanne Rolinski1, Christoph Müller1, Jens Heinke1, Isabelle Weindl1,2,3, Anne Biewald1, Benjamin Leon Bodirsky1, Alberte Bondeau4, Eltje R. Boons-Prins5, Alexander F. Bouwman6, Peter A. Leffelaar5, Johnny A. te Roller7, Sibyll Schaphoff1, and Kirsten Thonicke1 1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Telegraphenberg A51, PO Box 60 12 03, 14412 Potsdam, Germany
2Humboldt University of Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany
3Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering Potsdam-Bornim e.V., Max-Eyth-Allee 100, 14469 Potsdam, Germany
4Institut Méditerranéen de Biodiversité et d’Ecologie marine et continentale (IMBE), Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, IRD, Avignon Université, 13545 Aix-en-Provence CEDEX 04, France
5Wageningen University and Research, Plant Production Systems, Droevendaalsesteeg 1, 6708 PB Wageningen, the Netherlands
6Department of Earth Sciences - Geochemistry, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, PO Box 80021, 3508 TA Utrecht, the Netherlands
7Alterra, Wageningen Environmental Research, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
Abstract. Grassland management directly affects the carbon fluxes of large areas and is thus an important factor for the global carbon budget. Nonetheless, this aspect has been largely ignored or underrepresented in global carbon cycle models. We introduce three different management schemes for the managed grassland implementation of the DGVM LPJmL that facilitate a better representation of actual management systems globally. We describe the model implementation and evaluate model performance against European data. We demonstrate the importance of accounting for differences in grassland management by assessing maximum livestock grazing densities as well as the impacts of grazing, grazing intensities and mowing systems on soil carbon stocks. Grazing leads to soil carbon losses in polar or arid regions even at moderate livestock densities (< 0.4 LSU ha−1) but not in temperate regions even at much higher densities (0.4 to 1.2 LSU ha−1). Applying LPJmL 3.6 with the new grassland management options enables assessments of global meat production and its impact on the terrestrial biogeochemical cycles, but requires a global data set on current grassland management.

Citation: Rolinski, S., Müller, C., Heinke, J., Weindl, I., Biewald, A., Bodirsky, B. L., Bondeau, A., Boons-Prins, E. R., Bouwman, A. F., Leffelaar, P. A., te Roller, J. A., Schaphoff, S., and Thonicke, K.: Modeling vegetation and carbon dynamics of managed grasslands at the global scale with LPJmL 3.6, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., doi:10.5194/gmd-2017-26, in review, 2017.
Susanne Rolinski et al.
Susanne Rolinski et al.
Susanne Rolinski et al.

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Short summary
One third of the global land area is covered with grasslands which are grazed by or mowed for livestock feed. These areas contribute significantly to the carbon capture from the atmosphere when managed sensibly. To assess the effect of this management, we included different options of grazing and mowing into the global model LPJmL 3.6. We found in polar regions even low grazing pressure leads to soil carbon loss whereas in temperate regions up to 1.4 livestock units per hectare can be sustained.
One third of the global land area is covered with grasslands which are grazed by or mowed for...
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