The Eco.g.u.s papers

Revelli, R. & Porporato, A. Ecohydrological model for the quantification of ecosystem services provided by urban street trees Urban Ecosyst. (2018)

Urban green spaces have been recognized as an important source of ecosystem services, whose quantification requires the determination of quantities related to energy, water, carbon and soil nutrient content. In this paper we propose a stochastic ecohydrological model that couples two existing models for water and nutrients in urban soil at the single street-tree scale. The model input are rainfall and irrigation, for water, and deposition and fertilization, for nitrogen, while the output are evapotranspiration, runoff and deep percolation, for water, and plant uptake and leaching, for nitrogen. The various terms are related to the amount of paved and impervious surfaces that surround the tree trunk and regulate the water and nutrient fluxes in and out the soil. Particular attention is paid to the effects of seasonal variations on plant water and nutrients through a temporal variation of the hydrologic variables (i.e., temperature and rainfall intensity and frequencies). The average model outputs are preliminarily compared with the scant existing literature data, supporting the model application to cities with different climatic conditions. The model results are used to estimate the potential for ecosystem services like tree cooling effects, soil carbon sequestration or storm-water management. Because of the minimal structure of the proposed model, it requires a very low amount of data, while accounting for the stochastic input of rainfall. In the context of climate change and increasing urbanization, the model may offer useful indications to urban planners to enhance ecosystem services while minimizing irrigation, fertilization and their related costs. 

Revelli R. (2017) Urban Forests, Ecosystem Services and Modeling, Forestry Research and Engineering: International Journal, 1(2), doi:10.15406/freij.2017.01.00009

Pelak N., Revelli R., Porporato A. (2017) A dynamical systems framework for crop models: Toward optimal fertilization and irrigation strategies under climatic variability, Ecological Modelling, 365, 80-92, doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2017.10.003

Crop models are widely used for the modeling and prediction of crop yields, as decision support tools, and to develop research questions. Though typically constructed as a set of dynamical equations, crop models are not often analyzed from a specifically dynamical systems point of view, despite its potential to elucidate the roles of feedbacks and internal and external forcings on system stability and the optimization of control protocols (e.g., irrigation and fertilization). Here we develop a minimal dynamical system, based in part on the widely known AquaCrop model, consisting of a set of ordinary differential equations (ODE’s) describing the evolution of canopy cover, soil moisture, and soil nitrogen. These state variables are coupled through canopy growth and senescence, the evapotranspiration and percolation of soil moisture, and the uptake and leaching of soil nitrogen. The system is driven by random hydroclimatic forcing. Important crop model responses, such as biomass and yield, are calculated, and optimal yield and profitability under differing climate scenarios, irrigation strategies, and fertilization strategies are examined within the developed framework. The results highlight the need to maintain the system at or above resource limitation thresholds to achieve optimality and the role of system variability in determining management strategies.