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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  27 Mar 2020

27 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Variable tree rooting strategies improve tropical productivity and evapotranspiration in a dynamic global vegetation model

Boris Sakschewski1, Werner von Bloh1, Markus Drüke1, Anna A. Sörensson2,3, Romina Ruscica2,3, Fanny Langerwisch4,5, Maik Billing1, Sarah Bereswill6, Marina Hirota7,8, Rafael S. Oliveira8, Jens Heinke1, and Kirsten Thonicke1 Boris Sakschewski et al.
  • 1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, 14473, Germany
  • 2Universidad de Buenos Aires – Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Centro de Investigaciones del Mar y la Atmósfera (CIMA/UBA-CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 3Institut Franco-Argentin d'Etudes sur le Climat et ses Impacts, Unité Mixte Internationale (UMI-IFAECI/CNRS-CONICET-UBA), Argentina
  • 4Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Department of Water Resources and Environmental Modeling, 165 00 Praha 6 – Suchdol, Czech Republic
  • 5Palacký University Olomouc, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 78371 Olomouc, Czech Republic
  • 6University of Potsdam, Potsdam, 14469, Germany
  • 7Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Campus Universitário Reitor João David Ferreira Lima Trindade – Florianópolis – SC, CEP: 88040-900, Santa Catarina, Brazil
  • 8University of Campinas (UNICAMP) Cidade Universitária "Zeferino Vaz" CEP 13083-970, Campinas-SP, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Abstract. Tree water access via roots is crucial for forest functioning and therefore forests have developed a vast variety of rooting strategies across the globe. However, Dynamic Global Vegetation Models (DGVMs), which are increasingly used to simulate forest functioning, often condense this variety of tree rooting strategies into biome-scale averages, potentially under- or overestimating forest response to intra- and inter-annual variability in precipitation. Here we present a new approach of implementing variable rooting strategies and dynamic root growth into the LPJmL4.0 DGVM and apply it to tropical and sub-tropical South-America under contemporary climate conditions. We show how competing rooting strategies which underlie the trade-off between above- and below-ground carbon investment lead to more realistic simulated intra-annual productivity and evapotranspiration, and consequently forest cover and spatial biomass distribution. We find that climate and soil depth determine a spatially heterogeneous pattern of mean rooting depth and belowground biomass across the study region.

Boris Sakschewski et al.

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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment

Boris Sakschewski et al.

Boris Sakschewski et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This study shows how local adaptations of tree roots across tropical and sub-tropical South America explain patterns of biome distribution, productivity and evapotranspiration on this continent. By allowing for a high diversity of tree rooting strategies in a dynamic global vegetation model (DGVM) we are able to mechanistically explain patterns of mean rooting depth and the effects on ecosystem functions. The approach can advance DGVMs and Earth System Models.
This study shows how local adaptations of tree roots across tropical and sub-tropical South...