Modelling biological N fixation and grass-legume dynamics with process-based biogeochemical models of varying complexity

Nuala Fitton (Corresponding Author), Marco Bindi, Lorenzo Brilli, Rogerio Chicota, Camilla Dibari, Kathrin Fuchs, Olivier Huguenin-Elie, Katja Klumpp, Mark Lieffering, Andreas Lüscher, Raphaël Martin, Russel McAuliffe, Lutz Merbold, Paul Newton, Robert M. Rees, Pete Smith, Cairistiona F. E. Topp, Valerie Snow

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Abstract

Grasslands comprised of grass-legume mixtures could become a substitute for nitrogen fertiliser through biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) which in turn can reduce nitrous oxide emissions directly from soils without negative impacts on productivity. Models can test how legumes can be used to meet environmental and production goals, but many models used to simulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from grasslands have either a poor representation of grass-legume mixtures and BNF, or poor validation of these features. Our objective is to examine how such systems are currently represented in two process-based biogeochemical models, APSIM and DayCent, when compared against an experimental dataset with different grass-legume mixtures at three nitrogen (N) fertiliser rates. Here, we propose a novel approach for coupling DayCent, a single species model to APSIM, a multi-species model, to increase the capability of DayCent when representing a range of grass-legume fractions. While dependent on specific assumptions, both models can capture the key aspects of the grass-legume growth, including biomass production and BNF and to correctly simulate the interactions between changing legume and grass fractions, particularly mixtures with a high clover fraction. Our work suggests that single species models should not be used for grass-legume mixtures beyond about 30% legume content, unless using a similar approach to that adopted here.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-66
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Agronomy
Volume106
Early online date8 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

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fixation
legumes
grass
grasses
modeling
nitrogen fixation
nitrogen fertilizers
grasslands
grassland
fertilizer
nitrogen
fertilizer rates
greenhouse gas emissions
nitrous oxide
biomass production
greenhouse gas
productivity
biomass
biological nitrogen fixation
soil

Keywords

  • nitrogen uptake
  • species composition
  • model validation
  • overyielding

Cite this

Modelling biological N fixation and grass-legume dynamics with process-based biogeochemical models of varying complexity. / Fitton, Nuala (Corresponding Author); Bindi, Marco; Brilli, Lorenzo ; Chicota, Rogerio; Dibari, Camilla; Fuchs, Kathrin; Huguenin-Elie, Olivier; Klumpp, Katja; Lieffering, Mark; Lüscher, Andreas ; Martin, Raphaël ; McAuliffe, Russel; Merbold, Lutz; Newton, Paul; Rees, Robert M.; Smith, Pete; Topp, Cairistiona F. E.; Snow, Valerie .

In: European Journal of Agronomy, Vol. 106, 05.2019, p. 58-66.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fitton, N, Bindi, M, Brilli, L, Chicota, R, Dibari, C, Fuchs, K, Huguenin-Elie, O, Klumpp, K, Lieffering, M, Lüscher, A, Martin, R, McAuliffe, R, Merbold, L, Newton, P, Rees, RM, Smith, P, Topp, CFE & Snow, V 2019, 'Modelling biological N fixation and grass-legume dynamics with process-based biogeochemical models of varying complexity' European Journal of Agronomy, vol. 106, pp. 58-66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eja.2019.03.008
Fitton, Nuala ; Bindi, Marco ; Brilli, Lorenzo ; Chicota, Rogerio ; Dibari, Camilla ; Fuchs, Kathrin ; Huguenin-Elie, Olivier ; Klumpp, Katja ; Lieffering, Mark ; Lüscher, Andreas ; Martin, Raphaël ; McAuliffe, Russel ; Merbold, Lutz ; Newton, Paul ; Rees, Robert M. ; Smith, Pete ; Topp, Cairistiona F. E. ; Snow, Valerie . / Modelling biological N fixation and grass-legume dynamics with process-based biogeochemical models of varying complexity. In: European Journal of Agronomy. 2019 ; Vol. 106. pp. 58-66.
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abstract = "Grasslands comprised of grass-legume mixtures could become a substitute for nitrogen fertiliser through biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) which in turn can reduce nitrous oxide emissions directly from soils without negative impacts on productivity. Models can test how legumes can be used to meet environmental and production goals, but many models used to simulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from grasslands have either a poor representation of grass-legume mixtures and BNF, or poor validation of these features. Our objective is to examine how such systems are currently represented in two process-based biogeochemical models, APSIM and DayCent, when compared against an experimental dataset with different grass-legume mixtures at three nitrogen (N) fertiliser rates. Here, we propose a novel approach for coupling DayCent, a single species model to APSIM, a multi-species model, to increase the capability of DayCent when representing a range of grass-legume fractions. While dependent on specific assumptions, both models can capture the key aspects of the grass-legume growth, including biomass production and BNF and to correctly simulate the interactions between changing legume and grass fractions, particularly mixtures with a high clover fraction. Our work suggests that single species models should not be used for grass-legume mixtures beyond about 30{\%} legume content, unless using a similar approach to that adopted here.",
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note = "This work was conducted by the Models4Pastures consortium project under the auspices of FACCE-JPI. Funding was provided by: the New Zealand Government to support the objectives of the Livestock Research Group of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases; AgResearch’s Strategic Science Investment Fund as a contribution to the Forages for Reduced Nitrate Leaching (FRNL) research programme; the input of UK partners was funded by DEFRA and also contributes to the RCUK-funded projects: N-Circle (BB/N013484/1), UGRASS (NE/M016900/1) and GREENHOUSE (NE/K002589/1). R.M. Rees and C.F.E. Topp also received funding from the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme. Lutz Merbold and Kathrin Fuchs acknowledge funding received for the Swiss contribution to Models4Pastures (FACCE-JPI project, SNSF funded contract: 40FA40_154245/1) and for the Doc.Mobility fellowship (SNSF funded project: P1EZP2_172121). Lorenzo Brilli, Camilla Dibari and Marco Bindi acknowledge funding received from the Italian Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies (MiPAAF).",
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AU - Fitton, Nuala

AU - Bindi, Marco

AU - Brilli, Lorenzo

AU - Chicota, Rogerio

AU - Dibari, Camilla

AU - Fuchs, Kathrin

AU - Huguenin-Elie, Olivier

AU - Klumpp, Katja

AU - Lieffering, Mark

AU - Lüscher, Andreas

AU - Martin, Raphaël

AU - McAuliffe, Russel

AU - Merbold, Lutz

AU - Newton, Paul

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N1 - This work was conducted by the Models4Pastures consortium project under the auspices of FACCE-JPI. Funding was provided by: the New Zealand Government to support the objectives of the Livestock Research Group of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases; AgResearch’s Strategic Science Investment Fund as a contribution to the Forages for Reduced Nitrate Leaching (FRNL) research programme; the input of UK partners was funded by DEFRA and also contributes to the RCUK-funded projects: N-Circle (BB/N013484/1), UGRASS (NE/M016900/1) and GREENHOUSE (NE/K002589/1). R.M. Rees and C.F.E. Topp also received funding from the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme. Lutz Merbold and Kathrin Fuchs acknowledge funding received for the Swiss contribution to Models4Pastures (FACCE-JPI project, SNSF funded contract: 40FA40_154245/1) and for the Doc.Mobility fellowship (SNSF funded project: P1EZP2_172121). Lorenzo Brilli, Camilla Dibari and Marco Bindi acknowledge funding received from the Italian Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies (MiPAAF).

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N2 - Grasslands comprised of grass-legume mixtures could become a substitute for nitrogen fertiliser through biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) which in turn can reduce nitrous oxide emissions directly from soils without negative impacts on productivity. Models can test how legumes can be used to meet environmental and production goals, but many models used to simulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from grasslands have either a poor representation of grass-legume mixtures and BNF, or poor validation of these features. Our objective is to examine how such systems are currently represented in two process-based biogeochemical models, APSIM and DayCent, when compared against an experimental dataset with different grass-legume mixtures at three nitrogen (N) fertiliser rates. Here, we propose a novel approach for coupling DayCent, a single species model to APSIM, a multi-species model, to increase the capability of DayCent when representing a range of grass-legume fractions. While dependent on specific assumptions, both models can capture the key aspects of the grass-legume growth, including biomass production and BNF and to correctly simulate the interactions between changing legume and grass fractions, particularly mixtures with a high clover fraction. Our work suggests that single species models should not be used for grass-legume mixtures beyond about 30% legume content, unless using a similar approach to that adopted here.

AB - Grasslands comprised of grass-legume mixtures could become a substitute for nitrogen fertiliser through biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) which in turn can reduce nitrous oxide emissions directly from soils without negative impacts on productivity. Models can test how legumes can be used to meet environmental and production goals, but many models used to simulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from grasslands have either a poor representation of grass-legume mixtures and BNF, or poor validation of these features. Our objective is to examine how such systems are currently represented in two process-based biogeochemical models, APSIM and DayCent, when compared against an experimental dataset with different grass-legume mixtures at three nitrogen (N) fertiliser rates. Here, we propose a novel approach for coupling DayCent, a single species model to APSIM, a multi-species model, to increase the capability of DayCent when representing a range of grass-legume fractions. While dependent on specific assumptions, both models can capture the key aspects of the grass-legume growth, including biomass production and BNF and to correctly simulate the interactions between changing legume and grass fractions, particularly mixtures with a high clover fraction. Our work suggests that single species models should not be used for grass-legume mixtures beyond about 30% legume content, unless using a similar approach to that adopted here.

KW - nitrogen uptake

KW - species composition

KW - model validation

KW - overyielding

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DO - 10.1016/j.eja.2019.03.008

M3 - Article

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JO - European Journal of Agronomy

JF - European Journal of Agronomy

SN - 1161-0301

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