University Of Tasmania
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Use, calibration and verification of agroecological models for boreal environments: A review

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 07:14 authored by Forster, D, Helama, S, Matthew HarrisonMatthew Harrison, Rotz, CA, Chang, J, Ciais, P, Pattey, E, Virkajarvi, P, Shurpali, N


Past assessments report negative impacts of the climate crisis in boreal areas; but milder and shorter winters and elevated atmospheric CO2 may provide opportunities for agricultural productivity potentially playing a significant role in future food security. Arable cropping systems are expanding in boreal areas, but the regional mainstay will likely continue to be livestock production. Agroecological models can when appropriately calibrated and evaluated, facilitate improved productivity while minimising environmental impacts by identifying system interactions, and quantifying greenhouse gas emissions, soil carbon stocks and fertiliser use. While models designed for temperate and tropical zones abound, few are developed specifically for boreal zones, and there is uncertainty around the performance of existing models in boreal areas.


We reviewed model performance across boreal environments and management systems.


We identified a dearth of modelling studies in boreal regions, with the publication of three or less papers per year since the year 2000, constituting a significant research gap.


Models IFSM and BASGRA_N performed best in grassland production, DNDC best in predicting soil N2O and NH3 emissions. No model outperformed all others, strengthening the case for ensemble modelling. Existing agroecological models would be worthy of further evaluation, providing model improvements designed for boreal systems.


Meat and Livestock Australia

Integrity Ag & Environment


Publication title

Grassland Research






Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Place of publication


Rights statement

© 2022 The Authors. Grassland Research published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd. on behalf of Chinese Grassland Society and Lanzhou University. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Ecosystem adaptation to climate change; Management of greenhouse gas emissions from animal production; Management of greenhouse gas emissions from plant production