Implementing agricultural land-use in the CARAIB dynamic vegetation model

Louis François, Ingrid Jacquemin, Corentin Fontaine, Julien Minet, Marie Dury, Bernard Tychon


CARAIB (Dury et al., 2011) is a state-of-the-art dynamic vegetation model with various modules dealing with (i) soil hydrology, (ii) photosynthesis/stomatal regulation, (iii) carbon allocation and biomass growth, (iv) litter/soil carbon dynamics, (v) vegetation cover dynamics, (vi) seed dispersal, and (vii) vegetation fires. Climate and atmospheric CO2 are the primary inputs. The model calculates all major water and CO2/carbon fluxes and pools. It can be run with plant functional types or species (up to 100 different species) at various spatial scales, from the municipality to country or continental levels.


Within the VOTES project (Fontaine et al., 2013), the model has been improved to include crops and meadows, and some modules have been written to translate model outputs into quantitative indicators of ecosystem services (e.g., evaluate crop yield from net primary productivity or calculate soil erosion from runoff, slope, grown species and various soil attributes). The model was run over an area covering four municipalities in central Belgium, where land-use is dominated by crops, meadows, housing and some forests and was introduced in the model at the land parcel level. Simulations were also performed for the future. In these simulations, CARAIB was combined with the Aporia Agent-Based Model,  to project land-use changes up to 2050. This approach is currently extended within the MASC project (funded by Belgian Science Policy, BELSPO) to the whole Belgian territory (at 1 km2) and to Western Europe (at 20  km x 20 km).

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