Existing Soil Carbon Models Do Not Apply to Forested Wetlands

  • Author(s): Trettin, Carl C.; Song, B.; Jurgensen, M.F.; Li, C.
  • Date: 2001
  • Station ID: General Technical Report (GTR)-SRS-046


When assessing the biological,geological,and chemical cycling of nutrients and elements — or when assessing carbon dynamics with respect to global change — modeling and simulation are necessary. Although wetlands occupy a relatively small proportion of Earth’s terrestrial surface (<3 percent), they contain a disproportionate share of the terrestrial carbon pool (15 to 22 percent). Models that do not accurately represent wetland soil processes cannot,therefore,provide reasonable simulations. We evaluated 12 widely used soil C models to determine their applicability to wetland ecosystems: CANDY, CENTURY, DAISY, DNDC, ITE, MBL-GEM, NCSOIL, QSOIL, ROTHC, SOMM, VVV, and WMEM. Only three (CENTURY, DNDC, and WMEM) allow for anaerobic conditions; none contains components for anoxia,ground water hydrology, multiple organic and physical soil layers,or a daily time-step, all of which are necessary when modeling soil C in wet soils.Accordingly for any land area that includes wetlands, none of the individual models would produce reasonable simulations based on soil processes. We present a wetland soil C model framework based on desired attributes, the DNDC model,and components of the CENTURY and WMEM models. Our proposed synthesis would be appropriate when considering soil C dynamics at multiple spatial scales and where the land area considered includes both wetland and upland ecosystems.

  • Citation: Trettin, Carl C.; Song, B.; Jurgensen, M.F.; Li, C. 2001. Existing Soil Carbon Models Do Not Apply to Forested Wetlands. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-46. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 10 p.

Requesting Print Publications

Publication requests are subject to availability. Fiscal responsibility limits the hardcopies of publications we produce and distribute. Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, distributed and printed.

Please make any requests at pubrequest@fs.fed.us.

Publication Notes

  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
  • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.