Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1111/ejss.13411
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) BODIUM - a systemic approach to model the dynamics of soil functions
Author König, S. ORCID logo ; Weller, U.; Betancur-Corredor, B.; Lang, B.; Reitz, T.; Wiesmeier, M.; Wollschläger, U.; Vogel, H.-J.
Source Titel European Journal of Soil Science
Year 2023
Department BOOEK; BOSYS
Volume 74
Issue 5
Page From e13411
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords Simulation; Computational model; Agriculture; Soil structure; Soil microbiology; Sustainable soil
UFZ wide themes BonaRes;

The increasing demand for biomass for food, animal feed, fiber, and bioenergy requires optimization of soil productivity, while at the same time, protecting other soil functions such as nutrient cycling and buffering, carbon storage, habitat for biological activity, and water filter and storage. Therefore, one of the main challenges for sustainable agriculture is to produce high yields while maintaining all the other soil functions.

Mechanistic simulation models are an essential tool to fully understand and predict the complex interactions between physical, biological, and chemical processes of soils that generate those functions. We developed a soil model to simulate the impact of various agricultural management options and climate change on soil functions by integrating the relevant processes mechanistically and in a systemic way. As a special feature, we include the dynamics of soil structure induced by tillage and biological activity, which is especially relevant in arable soils. The model operates on a 1D soil profile consisting of a number of discrete layers with dynamic thickness.

We demonstrate the model performance by simulating crop growth, root growth, nutrient and water uptake, nitrogen cycling, soil organic matter turnover, microbial activity, water distribution, and soil structure dynamics in a long-term field experiment including different crops and different types and levels of fertilization. The model is able to capture essential features that are measured regularly including crop yield, soil organic carbon, and soil nitrogen. In this way, the plausibility of the implemented processes and their interactions is confirmed. Furthermore, we present the results of explorative simulations comparing scenarios with and without tillage events to analyze the effect of soil structure on soil functions. Since the model is process-based, we are confident that the model can also be used to predict quantities that have not been measured or to estimate the effect of management measures and climate states not yet been observed. The model thus has the potential to predict the site-specific impact of management decisions on soil functions, which is of great importance for the development of a sustainable agriculture that is currently also on the agenda of the ”Green Deal" at the European level.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
König, S., Weller, U., Betancur-Corredor, B., Lang, B., Reitz, T., Wiesmeier, M., Wollschläger, U., Vogel, H.-J. (2023):
BODIUM - a systemic approach to model the dynamics of soil functions
Eur. J. Soil Sci. 74 (5), e13411 10.1111/ejss.13411