BioGeochemical Cycles

Biome-BGC (BioGeochemical Cycles) is an ecosystem process model that represents physical and biological processes controlling the storage and flux of carbon, nitrogen, energy, and water for the vegetation and soil components of terrestrial ecosystems. These processes include the growth of new leafs and litterfall of old leaves, the sunlight interception by leaves and sunlight penetration to the ground, precipitation routing to leaves and soil, snow accumulation and melting, the drainage and runoff of soil water, the evaporation of water from soil and wet leaves, the transpiration of soil water through leaf stomata, the photosynthetic fixation of carbon from CO2 in the air, the uptake of nitrogen from the soil, the distribution of carbon and nitrogen to growing plant parts, the decomposition of fresh plant litter and old soil organic matter, and plant mortality.  The BIOME-BGC model is a multi-biome generalization of FOREST-BGC, a model originally developed to simulate a forest stand development through a life cycle. The model requires daily climate data and the definition of several key climate, vegetation, and site conditions to estimate fluxes of carbon, nitrogen, and water through ecosystems. Allometric relationships are used to initialize plant and soil carbon and nitrogen pools based on the leaf pools of these elements.


Licence: Open source

Operating System(s): Linux , Windows

Modelled processes...


  • Running, S. W. and S. T. Gower (1991): "FOREST-BGC, A general model of forest ecosystem processes for regional applications. II. Dynamic carbon allocation and nitrogen budgets.", Tree Physiol 9(1-2): 147-160.
  • White, M. A., P. E. Thornton, et al. (2000): "Parameterization and Sensitivity Analysis of the BIOME-BGC Terrestrial Ecosystem Model: Net Primary Production Controls." Earth Interactions 4: 1-85.
  • Thornton, P. E. and N. A. Rosenbloom (2005): "Ecosystem model spin-up: Estimating steady state conditions in a coupled terrestrial carbon and nitrogen cycle model." Ecological Modelling 189(1-2): 25-48.