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      Modelling Mediterranean agro-ecosystems by including agricultural trees in the LPJmL model

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      Geoscientific Model Development

      Copernicus GmbH

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          Abstract

          Abstract. In the Mediterranean region, climate and land use change are expected to impact on natural and agricultural ecosystems by warming, reduced rainfall, direct degradation of ecosystems and biodiversity loss. Human population growth and socioeconomic changes, notably on the eastern and southern shores, will require increases in food production and put additional pressure on agro-ecosystems and water resources. Coping with these challenges requires informed decisions that, in turn, require assessments by means of a comprehensive agro-ecosystem and hydrological model. This study presents the inclusion of 10 Mediterranean agricultural plants, mainly perennial crops, in an agro-ecosystem model (Lund-Potsdam-Jena managed Land – LPJmL): nut trees, date palms, citrus trees, orchards, olive trees, grapes, cotton, potatoes, vegetables and fodder grasses. The model was successfully tested in three model outputs: agricultural yields, irrigation requirements and soil carbon density. With the development presented in this study, LPJmL is now able to simulate in good detail and mechanistically the functioning of Mediterranean agriculture with a comprehensive representation of ecophysiological processes for all vegetation types (natural and agricultural) and in a consistent framework that produces estimates of carbon, agricultural and hydrological variables for the entire Mediterranean basin. This development paves the way for further model extensions aiming at the representation of alternative agro-ecosystems (e.g. agroforestry), and opens the door for a large number of applications in the Mediterranean region, for example assessments of the consequences of land use transitions, the influence of management practices and climate change impacts.

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          Most cited references 53

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          Some Comments on the Evaluation of Model Performance

           Cort Willmott (1982)
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            Ecosystem service supply and vulnerability to global change in Europe.

            Global change will alter the supply of ecosystem services that are vital for human well-being. To investigate ecosystem service supply during the 21st century, we used a range of ecosystem models and scenarios of climate and land-use change to conduct a Europe-wide assessment. Large changes in climate and land use typically resulted in large changes in ecosystem service supply. Some of these trends may be positive (for example, increases in forest area and productivity) or offer opportunities (for example, "surplus land" for agricultural extensification and bioenergy production). However, many changes increase vulnerability as a result of a decreasing supply of ecosystem services (for example, declining soil fertility, declining water availability, increasing risk of forest fires), especially in the Mediterranean and mountain regions.
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              Farming the planet: 2. Geographic distribution of crop areas, yields, physiological types, and net primary production in the year 2000

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Geoscientific Model Development
                Geosci. Model Dev.
                Copernicus GmbH
                1991-9603
                2015
                November 05 2015
                : 8
                : 11
                : 3545-3561
                Article
                10.5194/gmd-8-3545-2015
                © 2015
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