Global biodiversity is threatened by climate and land cover change. The research unit "Biodiversity and Sustainable Management of a Megadiverse Mountain Ecosystem in South Ecuador" (FOR 816) funded by the German research council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) is working in one of the hottest hotspots of biodiversity of the world. In this region the pressure from the local population on the environment is severe resulting in a high deforestation rate. Sustainable management systems have to be developed on a regional scale to counteract the loss of livelihood of the local population.
Numerical models are capable to investigate the changes of the mentioned future land cover changes and its response to climatic and hydrologic variability. The chance to test numerously land use scenarios without interfering into the real environment offers the possibility to investigate and to evaluate the proposed management strategies.
The presented work targets at an analysis of the impact of the predicted land cover changes in respect of the ecosystem services of climate and water regulation. Therefore a state-of-the-art land surface model called "Community Land Model" (CLM) is setup in a regional scale. The parametrization of the vegetation is implemented using plant functional types (PFT). The PFTs are defined a priori with vegetation classes based on ecological field surveys. Three central hypotheses are formulated to support the parametrization of the model.
The completed work offers a regionalized model setup to analyze different land cover developments in reference to energy and water fluxes between the soil, the vegetation and the atmosphere under changing climatic conditions. Besides the appraisal of the stated hypotheses other innovative contributions are made. The new values for the pre-installed CLM-PFT of tropical evergreen trees add to the current improvements made to the CLM.