Evaluating the accuracy and generality of a hybrid patch model

Rupert Seidl, Manfred J. Lexer, Dietmar Jäger, Karl Hönninger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Forest patch models have been used extensively to simulate vegetation development under current and changing environmental conditions. However, their physiological foundation is subject to criticism and recent validation experiments against long-term growth and yield data have shown major deficiencies in reproducing observed growth patterns of mixed-species forests. Here we describe the modified forest patch model PICUS Version 1.3, a model variant that couples the structurally detailed three-dimensional patch model PICUS Version 1.2 and the physiologically based stand-level production module of the 3-PG (Physiological Principles in Predicting Growth) model. The approach attempts to combine the ability of PICUS v1.2 to simulate forest dynamics on time scales relevant to forest succession with a simplified but successful production model based on the concept of radiation-use efficiency. We evaluated the hybrid model in a series of simulation experiments. Results indicated a realistic response to a climate sensitivity experiment: the response to environmental gradients was well captured both in terms of productivity on time scales of a rotation length and of forest succession over several hundreds of years. Testing against independent long-term growth and yield data revealed good correspondence between observed and predicted values of volume production and stand structure. Further model development should include a dynamic soil component to consider effects of nutrient cycling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)939-951
Number of pages13
JournalTree Physiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • 3-PG
  • Model coupling
  • Productivity
  • Species composition
  • Validation


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