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Modelling the resilience and sustainability of soil microbial functions to climate change-induced drought in Ethiopia

Climate change will cause extreme fluctuations in precipitation and temperatures generating intense drought and rainfall events. This will affect the functioning of most ecosystems, and the most severely affected include the world’s poorest and food security challenged nations, including Ethiopia. Microorganisms control decomposition of organic matter (OM), and
dominate the terrestrial contribution to the carbon (C) cycle. Our aim is to incorporate understanding of microbial community processes into the ecosystem model LPJ-Guess – a central BECC priority. This ambitious aim is made feasible by drawing results from funded projects.

We have:
1. Defined the dependence on moisture of microbial processes and scale this information to ecosystem, regional and global levels with LPJ-Guess.
2. Determined and incorporate both long-term and short-term legacy effects of drought on microbial functions to estimate how ecosystem carbon-budgets respond to environmental change.
3. Distinguished between microbial community and physiochemical mechanisms within modelled ecosystem carbon balances.
4. Determined how plant input modulates the microbial resilience to drought by coupling above- and belowground processes in LPJ-Guess.
5. Applied a revised LPJ-Guess (1-4) to simulate the carbon pool fate for Ethiopia, and arid regions in genera