Fire plays an important role in terrestrial ecosystems. The burning of biomass affects carbon and water fluxes and vegetation distribution. To understand the effect of interactive processes of fire and ecological succession on surface carbon and water fluxes, this study employed the Community Land Model version 4.5 to conduct a series of experiments that included and excluded fire and dynamic vegetation processes. Results of the experiments that excluded the vegetation dynamics showed a global increase in net ecosystem production (NEP) in post-fire regions, whereas the inclusion of vegetation dynamics revealed a fire-induced decrease in NEP in some regions, which was depicted when the dominant vegetation type was changed from trees to grass. Carbon emissions from fires are enhanced by reduction in NEP when vegetation dynamics are considered; however, this effect is somewhat mitigated by the increase in NEP when vegetation dynamics are not considered. Fire-induced changes in vegetation modify the soil moisture profile because grasslands are more dominant in post-fire regions. This results in less moisture within the top soil layer than that in unburned regions, even though transpiration is reduced overall. These findings are different from those of previous fire model evaluations that ignored vegetation dynamics and thus highlight the importance of interactive processes between fires and vegetation dynamics in evaluating recent model developments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Modelling and Simulation
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)