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Compendium on methods and tools to evaluate impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change

Lund-Potsdam-Jena Dynamic Global Model (LPJ)

The LPJ model combines process-based, large-scale representations of terrestrial vegetation dynamics and land-atmosphere carbon and water exchanges in a modular framework. Features include feedback through canopy conductance between photosynthesis and transpiration, and interactive coupling between these “fast” processes and other ecosystem processes, including resource competition, tissue turnover, population dynamics, soil organic matter and litter dynamics, and fire disturbance.

Appropriate Use Photosynthesis, evapotranspiration, and soil-water dynamics are modeled on a daily time step, and vegetation structure and PFT population densities are updated annually.
Scope Global at 0.5° latitude and longitude resolution.
Key Output Vegetation structure, biomass carbon.
Key Input Latitude, longitude, climate, soil texture, CO2.
Ease of Use Expert ecosystem vegetation scientist
Training Required Yes
Training Available Training occurs for young scientists developing masters or Ph.D. theses on the basis of LPJ.
Computer Requirements Linux cluster

Being applied in many different contexts, LPJ has been able to show multiple aspects of biospheric vulnerability to climate and land use change, as well as the feedbacks that will likely arise from broad-scale alteration of the land surface.

Contacts for Framework, Documentation, Technical Assistance

Dr. I. Colin Prentice

Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany; Tel: +49.3641.643.774; Fax: +49.3641.643.775; e-mail:

Cost Not identified

Bondeau A., P.C. Smith, S. Zaehle, S. Schaphoff, W. Lucht, W. Cramer, D. Gerten, H. Lotze-Campen, C. Müller, M. Reichstein and B. Smith. 2007. Modelling the role of agriculture for the 20th century global terrestrial carbon balance. Global Change Biology 13(3):679-706.

Cramer, W. and 16 others. 2001. Global response of terrestrial ecosystem structure and function to CO2 and climate change: Results from six dynamic global vegetation models. Global Change Biology 7:357-373.

Prentice, I.C., M. Heimann, and S. Sitch. 2000. The carbon balance of the terrestrial biosphere: Ecosystem models and atmospheric observations. Ecological Applications 10:1553-1573.

Sitch, S., B. Smith, I.C. Prentice, A. Arneth, A. Bondeau, W. Cramer, J. Kaplan, S. Levis, W. Lucht, M. Sykes, K. Thonicke, and S. Venevski. 2003. Evaluation of ecosystem dynamics, plant geography and terrestrial carbon cycling in the LPJ Dynamic Vegetation Model. Global Change Biology 9:161-185.