FATES Integrations with ACME Model

Next-generation dynamic vegetation model integrated with ACME Land Model.

The Science

The Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator (FATES) is a dynamics vegetation model that predicts tree size distributions, disturbance dynamics, and plant trait competition. It has been integrated into the Accelerated Climate Model for Energy (ACME) Land Model and released as an open-source tool to the public.

The Impact

FATES will allow a richer representation of the potential ecosystem responses to weather, land-use, and atmospheric compositional changes, and of how these ecosystem changes alter the dynamics of the Earth system. The coupled ACME Earth system model (ESM) will benefit from these changes to allow it to be applied to scientific questions about the role of ecosystem change in the context of larger global changes.


FATES is a demographic vegetation model that includes dynamics that are not included in the current ACME Land Model, such as individual tree growth, death, and competition for light; explicit representation of both natural and anthropogenic disturbance; and competitive dynamics between different plant functional types as a result of their differing plant traits. The FATES model has been designed for modularity to allow scientific isolation of component processes and clean scientific experimental design. Because FATES makes predictions about tree size distributions, disturbance dynamics, and physiological dynamics at the level of individual trees, it can be more robustly tested against field measurements and can therefore serve as an organizing model for U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) field activities, particularly in forested ecosystems, such as the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE)–Tropics project.  Now that FATES has been fully integrated into the ACME Land Model, such activities are directly feeding into ACME science.

Principal Investigator

Charles Koven
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
[email protected]

Program Manager

Daniel Stover
U.S. Department of Energy, Biological and Environmental Research (SC-33)
Environmental System Science
[email protected]


Support for this activity is from the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER), within the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, through BER’s Climate and Environmental Sciences Division and its Terrestrial Ecosystem Sciences, Earth System Modeling, and Climate Modeling Development and Validation programs as part of the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments (NGEE)–Tropics project.

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