Submitted as: model evaluation paper 15 Sep 2021

Submitted as: model evaluation paper | 15 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Modelling symbiotic biological nitrogen fixation in grain legumes globally by LPJ-GUESS

Jianyong Ma1, Stefan Olin2, Peter Anthoni1, Sam S. Rabin1, Anita D. Bayer1, Sylvia S. Nyawira3, and Almut Arneth1,4 Jianyong Ma et al.
  • 1Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research-Atmospheric Environmental Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • 2Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystems Science, Lund University, 22362 Lund, Sweden
  • 3International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), ICIPE Duduville Campus, P O Box 823-00621 Nairobi, Kenya
  • 4Institute of Geography and Geoecology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany

Abstract. Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) from grain legumes is significant importance in global agricultural ecosystems. Crops with BNF capability are expected to support the need to increase food production while reducing nitrogen (N) fertilizer input for agriculture sustainability, but quantification of N fixing rates and BNF crop yields remains inadequate. Here we incorporate two legume crops (soybean and faba bean) with BNF into a dynamic vegetation model LPJ-GUESS (Lund-Potsdam-Jena General Ecosystem Simulator). The performance of this new implementation is evaluated against observations from a range of water and N management trials. LPJ-GUESS generally captures the observed response to these management practices on legume biomass production, soil N uptake and N fixation, despite some deviations from observations in some cases. Globally, the simulated BNF is dominated by soil moisture and temperature, as well as amounts of N fertilizer addition. Annual inputs through BNF are modelled to be 11.6±2.2 Tg N for soybean and 5.6±1.0 Tg N for all pulses, with a total fixation of 17.2±2.9 Tg N yr-1 for all grain legumes during the period 1981–2016 on global scale. Our estimates show a good agreement with some previous statistical estimates but are relatively high compared to some estimates for pulses. This study highlights the importance of accounting for legume N fixation process when modelling C-N interactions in agricultural ecosystems, particularly when it comes to account for the combined effects of climate and land-use change on global terrestrial N cycle.

Jianyong Ma et al.

Status: open (until 10 Nov 2021)

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Jianyong Ma et al.

Data sets

Jianyong Ma/BNF in grain legumes in LPJ-GUESS Jianyong Ma, Stefan Olin, Peter Anthoni, Sam S. Rabin, Anita D. Bayer, Sylvia S. Nyawira, Almut Arneth

Jianyong Ma et al.


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Short summary
The implementation of biological N fixation process to LPJ-GUESS in this study provides an opportunity to quantify N fixation rates between legumes, as well as to better estimate grain legumes' production on global scale. It also helps to predict and detect the potential contribution of N-fixing plants as 'green manure' to reducing or removing the use of N fertilizer in global agricultural systems, considering different climate conditions, management practices, and land-use change scenarios.