Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2022-243
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2022-243
Submitted as: model description paper
04 Nov 2022
Submitted as: model description paper | 04 Nov 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

MEDFATE 2.8.1: A trait-enabled model to simulate Mediterranean forest function and dynamics at regional scales

Miquel De Cáceres1, Roberto Molowny-Horas1, Antoine Cabon2,3, Jordi Martínez-Vilalta1,4, Maurizio Mencuccini1,5, Raúl García-Valdés6, Daniel Nadal-Sala1,7,8, Santiago Sabaté1,8, Nicolas Martin-StPaul9, Xavier Morin10, Enric Batllori1,8, and Aitor Améztegui11,12 Miquel De Cáceres et al.
  • 1CREAF, Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Catalonia, E08193 Spain
  • 2Wilkes Center for Climate Science and Policy, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
  • 3School of Biological, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
  • 4Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Catalonia, E08193, Spain
  • 5ICREA, E08010, Barcelona, Spain
  • 6Department of Biology and Geology, Physics and Inorganic Chemistry, Rey Juan Carlos University, c/ Tulipán s/n, 28933 Móstoles, Spain
  • 7Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research – Atmospheric Environmental Research (IMK-IFU), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Kreuzeckbahnstr. 19, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • 8Ecology Section, Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, University of Barcelona (UB), Barcelona, Spain
  • 9Écologie des Forêts Méditerranéennes (URFM), INRAE, Avignon, France
  • 10CEFE, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, EPHE, IRD, Montpellier, France
  • 11Department of Agricultural and Forest Engineering, Universitat de Lleida, E25198 Lleida, Spain
  • 12Joint Research Unit CTFC-Agrotecnio-CERCA, Ctra. Sant Llorenç km.2, E25280 Solsona, Spain

Abstract. Regional-level applications of dynamic vegetation models are challenging because they need to accommodate the variation in plant functional diversity, which requires moving away from broadly-defined functional types. Different approaches have been adopted in the last years to incorporate a trait-based perspective into modeling exercises. A common parametrization strategy involves using trait data to represent functional variation between individuals while discard taxonomic identity, but this strategy ignores the phylogenetic signal of trait variation and cannot be employed when predictions for specific taxa are needed, as in applications to inform forest management planning. An alternative strategy involves adapting the taxonomic resolution of model entities to that of the data source employed for large-scale initialization and estimating functional parameters from available plant trait databases while adopting alternative solutions for missing data and non-observable parameters. Here we report the advantages and limitations of this second strategy according to our experience in the development of MEDFATE (v. 2.8.1), a novel cohort-based and trait-enabled model of forest dynamics, for its application over a region in the Western Mediterranean Basin. First, 217 taxonomic entities were defined according to woody species codes of the Spanish National Forest Inventory. While forest inventory data were used to obtain some empirical parameter estimates, a large proportion of physiological, morphological, and anatomical parameters were mapped to measured plant traits, with estimates extracted from multiple databases and averaged at the required taxonomic level. Estimates for non-observable key parameters were obtained using meta-modeling and calibration exercises. Missing values were filled using imputation procedures based on trait coordination, taxonomic averages or both. The model properly simulated observed historical basal area changes, with a performance similar to an empirical model trained for the same region. While strong efforts are still required to parameterize trait-enabled models for multiple taxa, estimation procedures can be progressively refined, transferred to other regions or models and iterated following data source changes by employing automated workflows. We advocate for the adoption of trait-enabled population-structured models for regional-level projections of forest function and dynamics.

Miquel De Cáceres et al.

Status: open (until 30 Dec 2022)

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Miquel De Cáceres et al.

Miquel De Cáceres et al.

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Short summary
Regional-level applications of dynamic vegetation models are challenging because they need to accommodate the variation in plant functional diversity. This can be done by estimating parameters from available plant trait databases while adopting alternative solutions for missing data. Here we present the design, parameterization and evaluation of MEDFATE, a novel model of forest dynamics for its application over a region in the Western Mediterranean Basin.