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Research Project: Response of Ecosystem Services in Agricultural Watersheds to Changes in Water Availability, Land Use, Management, and Climate

Location: Water Management and Systems Research

Title: A model for the AgES (Agricultural Ecosystems Services): Concepts of simplicity versus complexity in representing spatially explicit soil-water-plant processes

item Green, Timothy
item McMaster, Gregory
item KIPKA, HOLM - Colorado State University
item LIGHTHART, NATHAN - Colorado State University
item DAVID, OLAF - Colorado State University
item Erskine, Robert - Rob
item Edmunds, Debora
item CRUZ, PATRICIA - Embrapa
item CARLSON, JACK - Colorado State University
item ARABI, MAZDAK - Colorado State University
item Ascough Ii, James

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/25/2018
Publication Date: 6/24/2018
Citation: Green, T.R., Mcmaster, G.S., Kipka, H., Lighthart, N., David, O., Erskine, R.H., Edmunds, D.A., Figueiredo, R.O., Cruz, P.P., Carlson, J., Arabi, M., Ascough Ii, J.C. 2018. A model for the AgES (Agricultural Ecosystems Services): Concepts of simplicity versus complexity in representing spatially explicit soil-water-plant processes. Meeting Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary: N/A

Technical Abstract: Despite the availability of interchangeable components in flexible modeling frameworks, we tend to avoid developing multiple customized models due to human limitations of managing multiple code bases, documenting different but similar models, deploying custom user interfaces, and institutional constraints on model maintenance and deployment. Thus, models grow larger and more complex as features are added for new applications. The objective of this project is to develop and deploy an adaptable model to simulate agro-ecosystems in a range of environments, while balancing simplicity versus complexity. Two facets of this balance are: 1) making process computations as simple and efficient as possible to capture environmental responses, and 2) providing appropriate complexity of the model parameters and process simulations to capture the desired features in space and time. Simplicity of use is desired even when the underlying model is very complex. The Agricultural Ecosystems Services (AgES) distributed watershed model was developed as a component-based model. Here, we demonstrate a few applications of AgES to watershed studies in semi-arid Colorado, sub-humid Iowa and tropical Brazil. AgES is used to simulate space-time patterns of soil moisture and infrequent runoff events in Colorado, tile drainage contributing to high nitrate loads in Iowa, and to assess reforestation scenarios in Minas Gerais, Brazil. These watersheds (56 ha to 581 km2) provide comparative studies to address model parameter complexity across various scales with different types of data and levels of spatial information. Other presentations will address aspects of AgES deployment as an internet service, advances in crop model development, and web tools for watershed delineation and data provisioning.