Articles | Volume 11, issue 4
Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 1343–1375, 2018

Special issue: The Lund–Potsdam–Jena managed Land (LPJmL) dynamic...

Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 1343–1375, 2018

Model description paper 12 Apr 2018

Model description paper | 12 Apr 2018

LPJmL4 – a dynamic global vegetation model with managed land – Part 1: Model description

Sibyll Schaphoff1, Werner von Bloh1, Anja Rammig2, Kirsten Thonicke1, Hester Biemans3, Matthias Forkel4, Dieter Gerten1,5, Jens Heinke1, Jonas Jägermeyr1, Jürgen Knauer6, Fanny Langerwisch1, Wolfgang Lucht1,5, Christoph Müller1, Susanne Rolinski1, and Katharina Waha1,7 Sibyll Schaphoff et al.
  • 1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, P.O. Box 60 12 03, 14412 Potsdam, Germany
  • 2Technical University of Munich, School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan, 85354 Freising, Germany
  • 3Alterra, Wageningen University & Research, P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
  • 4TU Wien, Climate and Environmental Remote Sensing Group, Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation, Gusshausstraße 25–29, 1040 Vienna, Austria
  • 5Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Department of Geography, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany
  • 6Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Hans-Knöll-Str. 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
  • 7CSIRO Agriculture & Food, 306 Carmody Rd, St Lucia QLD 4067, Australia

Abstract. This paper provides a comprehensive description of the newest version of the Dynamic Global Vegetation Model with managed Land, LPJmL4. This model simulates – internally consistently – the growth and productivity of both natural and agricultural vegetation as coherently linked through their water, carbon, and energy fluxes. These features render LPJmL4 suitable for assessing a broad range of feedbacks within and impacts upon the terrestrial biosphere as increasingly shaped by human activities such as climate change and land use change. Here we describe the core model structure, including recently developed modules now unified in LPJmL4. Thereby, we also review LPJmL model developments and evaluations in the field of permafrost, human and ecological water demand, and improved representation of crop types. We summarize and discuss LPJmL model applications dealing with the impacts of historical and future environmental change on the terrestrial biosphere at regional and global scale and provide a comprehensive overview of LPJmL publications since the first model description in 2007. To demonstrate the main features of the LPJmL4 model, we display reference simulation results for key processes such as the current global distribution of natural and managed ecosystems, their productivities, and associated water fluxes. A thorough evaluation of the model is provided in a companion paper. By making the model source code freely available at, we hope to stimulate the application and further development of LPJmL4 across scientific communities in support of major activities such as the IPCC and SDG process.

Short summary
Here we provide a comprehensive model description of a global terrestrial biosphere model, named LPJmL4, incorporating the carbon and water cycle and the quantification of agricultural production. The model allows for the consistent and joint quantification of climate and land use change impacts on the biosphere. The model represents the key ecosystem functions, but also the influence of humans on the biosphere. It comes with an evaluation paper to demonstrate the credibility of LPJmL4.