Soil Texture has a Large Impact on Vegetation Dynamics Simulated by ELM-FATES


Yilin Fang1* (, Ruby Leung1, Lingcheng Li1, Nate McDowell1,2, Jeffrey Chambers3,4


1Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA; 2School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University–Tri-Cities, Richland, WA; 3Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA; 4Department of Geography, University of California–Berkeley, CA



Soil texture is an important factor influencing patterns of vegetation structure through its influence on soil water dynamics and water availability. However, characterization of soil texture heterogeneity impacts on vegetation dynamics in Earth system modeling has been elusive. To fill the gap, researchers started simulations at BIONTE, a plot within a long-term forest dynamics experiment in the central Amazon Forest using the land component in E3SM, known as ELM, and FATES. The model accounts for tropical trees and shrubs. Model configurations include lateral flow and macropore diversion of precipitation. Based on the results from short-term spinup simulations, researchers observed that (1) the fraction of shrub leaf biomass in tree/shrub assembly decreases with sand content in the soil, especially when sand content is greater than 90%, which is contrary to the observations and (2) when accounting for macropore flow parameterized based on root biomass, shrub fraction increases with sand content when sand content is less than 90%. Longer-term spinup and further investigations are planned to confirm, analyze, and understand the findings.