Articles | Volume 7, issue 4
Development and technical paper
24 Jul 2014
Development and technical paper |  | 24 Jul 2014

Application of a computationally efficient method to approximate gap model results with a probabilistic approach

M. Scherstjanoi, J. O. Kaplan, and H. Lischke

Abstract. To be able to simulate climate change effects on forest dynamics over the whole of Switzerland, we adapted the second-generation DGVM (dynamic global vegetation model) LPJ-GUESS (Lund–Potsdam–Jena General Ecosystem Simulator) to the Alpine environment. We modified model functions, tuned model parameters, and implemented new tree species to represent the potential natural vegetation of Alpine landscapes. Furthermore, we increased the computational efficiency of the model to enable area-covering simulations in a fine resolution (1 km) sufficient for the complex topography of the Alps, which resulted in more than 32 000 simulation grid cells. To this aim, we applied the recently developed method GAPPARD (approximating GAP model results with a Probabilistic Approach to account for stand Replacing Disturbances) (Scherstjanoi et al., 2013) to LPJ-GUESS. GAPPARD derives mean output values from a combination of simulation runs without disturbances and a patch age distribution defined by the disturbance frequency. With this computationally efficient method, which increased the model's speed by approximately the factor 8, we were able to faster detect the shortcomings of LPJ-GUESS functions and parameters. We used the adapted LPJ-GUESS together with GAPPARD to assess the influence of one climate change scenario on dynamics of tree species composition and biomass throughout the 21st century in Switzerland. To allow for comparison with the original model, we additionally simulated forest dynamics along a north–south transect through Switzerland. The results from this transect confirmed the high value of the GAPPARD method despite some limitations towards extreme climatic events. It allowed for the first time to obtain area-wide, detailed high-resolution LPJ-GUESS simulation results for a large part of the Alpine region.