Many terrestrial biogeochemistry process models have been applied around the world at different scales and for a large range of ecosystems. Despite being essential ecosystems that sustain important ecological processes, only a few efforts have been made to estimate the gross primary production (GPP) and the hydrological budgets along an altitudinal gradient for grasslands in the Andean Region. One of the few previous studies in the region considered the heterogeneity of the main properties of the páramo vegetation and showed significant differences in plant functional types, site/soil parameters, and daily meteorology. This study extends the work previously mentioned by using the Biome-BGC model to simulate the GPP and the water fluxes in a representative area of the Ecuadorian Andean páramos. It focuses on three main growth forms of vegetation and is also extended to cells with similar properties. The responses of GPP and the water fluxes were dependent on environmental drivers, ecophysiology, and site-specific parameters. The results showed that the GPP estimations at lower elevations are more than twice the estimations at higher elevations, which might have a large implication during extrapolations at larger spatiotemporal scales. The assessment of the water fluxes in the páramo ecosystem was inaccurate, presumably due to the poor estimation of the soil processes, water storage, and evaporative processes. A further development in the soil and evaporative modeling process of Biome-BGC is needed in order to be fully applicable in the high-altitudinal páramo ecosystems. An accurate estimation of the temporal changes of carbon and water budgets can potentially assess the effect of the climate drivers in the biomass productivity of this terrestrial ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-346
Number of pages12
JournalSoil Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016

    Research areas

  • Andes, Biome-BGC, GPP, hydrological budget, páramos

ID: 14045504