Calibration and validation of models for short-term decomposition and N mineralization of plant residues in the tropics

A.F. do Nascimento, E.D. Mendona, L.F.C. Leite, J.M.S. Scholberg, J.C.L. Neves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Insight of nutrient release patterns associated with the decomposition of plant residues is important for their effective use as a green manure in food production systems. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the ability of the Century, APSIM and NDICEA simulation models for predicting the decomposition and N mineralization of crop residues in the tropical Atlantic forest biome, Brazil. The simulation models were calibrated based on actual decomposition and N mineralization rates of three types of crop residues with different chemical and biochemical composition. The models were also validated for different pedo-climatic conditions and crop residues conditions. In general, the accuracy of decomposition and N mineralization improved after calibration. Overall RMSE values for the decomposition and N mineralization of the crop materials varied from 7.4 to 64.6 % before models calibration compared to 3.7 to 16.3 % after calibration. Therefore, adequate calibration of the models is indispensable for use them under humid tropical conditions. The NDICEA model generally outperformed the other models. However, the decomposition and N mineralization was not very accurate during the first 30 days of incubation, especially for easily decomposable crop residues. An additional model variable may be required to capture initial microbiological growth as affected by the moisture dynamics of the residues, as is the case in surface residues decomposition models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-401
JournalScientia agricola
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • soil organic-matter
  • nitrogen mineralization
  • nutrient release
  • simulation
  • lignin
  • litter
  • polyphenol
  • quality
  • systems
  • forest


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