Dynamics of the Terrestrial Biosphere in Changing Global Environments: Date, Models, and Validation

  • Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, The University of Kansas, Lawrence KS 66045, USA; Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China

Received date: 2001-12-21

  Revised date: 2002-03-09

  Online published: 2002-07-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40128005


The terrestrial biosphere is a dynamic system that interacts with the atmosphere and climate principally through the exchanges of energy, water and elements. Because of the limitations of equilibrium terrestrial biosphere models, the new generation models - dynamic biosphere models, are critically needed for assessing and predicting the primary production and biogeochemical cycles of the terrestrial biosphere in changing global environments. The goal of dynamic biosphere modeling is to model dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems induced by natural and anthropogenic disturbances, as well as the interactions of energy, water and carbon cycles within the terrestrial biosphere and between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere. The critical gaps in developing such a terrestrial biosphere model are not our inability to construct model code but instead the poorly developed links between empiricism and the concepts we used to construct our models, especially: a lack of data that would help to make our models mechanistic, an incomplete fundamental knowledge about how complex terrestrial ecosystems work, a poor understanding of how to scale up what we do know and of how to validate such a model. We have watched many models put forth as hypotheses, criticized, and fail to predict--but then over time become more and more useful, more mechanistic, and genuinely predictive.

Cite this article

TIAN Hanqin . Dynamics of the Terrestrial Biosphere in Changing Global Environments: Date, Models, and Validation[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2002 , 57(4) : 379 -388 . DOI: 10.11821/xb200204001


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