Modelling spatio-temporal patterns of soil carbon and greenhouse gas emissions in grazing lands: Current status and prospects

Junye Wang, Yumei Li, Edward W. Bork, Goetz M. Richter, Hyung Il Eum, Changchun Chen, Syed Hamid Hussain Shah, Symon Mezbahuddin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The sustainability of grazing lands lies in the nexus of human consumption behavior, livestock productivity, and environmental footprint. Due to fast growing global food demands, many grazing lands have suffered from overgrazing, leading to soil degradation, air and water pollution, and biodiversity losses. Multidisciplinary efforts are required to understand how these lands can be better assessed and managed to attain predictable outcomes of optimal benefit to society. This paper synthesizes our understanding based on previous work done on modelling the influences of grazing of soil carbon (SC) and greenhouse gas emissions to identify current knowledge gaps and research priorities. We revisit three widely-used process-based models: DeNitrification DeComposition (DNDC), DayCent, and the Pasture Simulation model (PaSim) and two watershed models: The Soil & Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and Variable Infiltration Capacity Model (VIC), which are widely used to simulate C, nutrient and water cycles. We review their structures and ability as process-based models in representing key feedbacks among grazing management, SOM decomposition and hydrological processes in grazing lands. Then we review some significant advances in the use of models combining biogeochemical and hydrological processes. Finally, we examine challenges of incorporating spatial heterogeneity and temporal variability into modelling C and nutrient cycling in grazing lands and discuss their weakness and strengths. We also highlight key research direction for improving the knowledge base and code structure in modelling C and nutrient cycling in grazing lands, which are essential to conserve grazing lands and maintain their ecosystem goods and services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139092
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume739
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct. 2020

Keywords

  • Agroecosystem
  • Coupling biogeochemical and hydrological modelling
  • Grasslands
  • Grazing management
  • Nutrient cycles
  • Soil carbon

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