Benchmarking and parameter sensitivity of physiological and vegetation dynamics using the Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator (FATES) at Barro Colorado Island, Panama

Plant functional traits determine vegetation responses to environmental variation, but variation in trait values is large, even within a single site. Likewise, uncertainty in how these traits map to Earth system feedbacks is large. We use a vegetation demographic model (VDM), the Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator (FATES), to explore parameter sensitivity of model predictions, and comparison to observations, at a tropical forest site: Barro Colorado Island in Panama. We define a single 12-dimensional distribution of plant trait variation, derived primarily from observations in Panama, and define plant functional types (PFTs) as random draws from this distribution. We compare several model ensembles, where individual ensemble members vary only in the plant traits that define PFTs, and separate ensembles differ from each other based on either model structural assumptions or non-trait, ecosystem-level parameters, which include (a) the number of competing PFTs present in any simulation and (b) parameters that govern disturbance and height-based light competition. While single-PFT simulations are roughly consistent with observations of productivity at Barro Colorado Island, increasing the number of competing PFTs strongly shifts model predictions towards higher productivity and biomass forests. Different ecosystem variables show greater sensitivity than others to the number of competing PFTs, with the predictions that are most dominated by large trees, such as biomass, being the most sensitive. Changing disturbance and height-sorting parameters, i.e., the rules of competitive trait filtering, shifts regimes of dominance or coexistence between early- and late-successional PFTs in the model. Increases to the extent or severity of disturbance, or to the degree of determinism in height-based light competition, all act to shift the community towards early-successional PFTs. In turn, these shifts in competitive outcomes alter predictions of ecosystem states and fluxes, with more early-successional-dominated forests having lower biomass. It is thus crucial to differentiate between plant traits, which are under competitive pressure in VDMs, from those model parameters that are not and to better understand the relationships between these two types of model parameters to quantify sources of uncertainty in VDMs.

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Related Links

Related Dataset #1 : FATES Parameters and Output for Parameter Sensitivity at the Panama Barro Colorado Island Testbed

Related Dataset #2 : QA/QC-ed BCI meteorological drivers

Related Dataset #3 : CO2 response (ACi) gas exchange, calculated Vcmax & Jmax parameters, Feb2016-May2016, PA-SLZ, PA-PNM: Panama

Related Dataset #4 : Photosynthetic parameters and nutrient content of trees at the Panama crane sites

Related MediaObject #1 : 600 Years of Forest Dynamics using FATES model at Barro Colorado Island, Panama

Related Software #1 : ESCOMP/CTSM: Update documentation for release-clm5.0 branch, and fix issues with no-anthro surface dataset creation

Related Software #2 : ckoven/runscripts: version 1.0 of ckoven/runscripts

Related Software #3 : NGEET/testbeds: version 1.0 of testbeds scripts, as used in FATES BCI analysis

Related Software #4 : The Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator (FATES)

Related Software #5 : Functionally-Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator (commit 0bc7a5d)

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Author Koven, Charles D.
Knox, Ryan G.
Fisher, Rosie A.
Chambers, Jeffrey Q.
Christoffersen, Bradley O.
Davies, Stuart J.
Detto, Matteo
Dietze, Michael C.
Faybishenko, Boris
Holm, Jennifer
Huang, Maoyi
Kovenock, Marlies
Kueppers, Lara M.
Lemieux, Gregory
Massoud, Elias
McDowell, Nathan G.
Muller-Landau, Helene C.
Needham, Jessica F.
Norby, Richard J.
Powell, Thomas
Rogers, Alistair
Serbin, Shawn P.
Shuman, Jacquelyn K.
Swann, Abigail L. S.
Varadharajan, Charuleka
Walker, Anthony P.
Wright, S. Joseph
Xu, Chonggang
Publisher UCAR/NCAR - Library
Publication Date 2020-06-15T00:00:00
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) Not Assigned
Alternate Identifier N/A
Resource Version N/A
Topic Category geoscientificInformation
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Metadata Date 2022-10-07T15:42:40.879356
Metadata Record Identifier edu.ucar.opensky::articles:23452
Metadata Language eng; USA
Suggested Citation Koven, Charles D., Knox, Ryan G., Fisher, Rosie A., Chambers, Jeffrey Q., Christoffersen, Bradley O., Davies, Stuart J., Detto, Matteo, Dietze, Michael C., Faybishenko, Boris, Holm, Jennifer, Huang, Maoyi, Kovenock, Marlies, Kueppers, Lara M., Lemieux, Gregory, Massoud, Elias, McDowell, Nathan G., Muller-Landau, Helene C., Needham, Jessica F., Norby, Richard J., Powell, Thomas, Rogers, Alistair, Serbin, Shawn P., Shuman, Jacquelyn K., Swann, Abigail L. S., Varadharajan, Charuleka, Walker, Anthony P., Wright, S. Joseph, Xu, Chonggang. (2020). Benchmarking and parameter sensitivity of physiological and vegetation dynamics using the Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator (FATES) at Barro Colorado Island, Panama. UCAR/NCAR - Library. http://n2t.net/ark:/85065/d71z47n1. Accessed 25 March 2023.

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