Ecological Research

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 201–210 | Cite as

Synergies between observational and modeling studies at the Takayama site: toward a better understanding of processes in terrestrial ecosystems

  • Akihiko ItoEmail author
  • Taku M. Saitoh
  • Takahiro Sasai
Special Feature Long-term and interdisciplinary research on forest ecosystem functions: Challenges at Takayama site since 1993


This paper reviews past and ongoing ecological studies at the Takayama forest site, one of Japan’s long-term research sites with intensive studies; the emphasis here is on the synergies between observational and modeling studies. This synergism has been encouraged because global environmental change is a complicated and interdisciplinary issue that requires this type of collaboration. The increasing amount and quality of observational data available from this site helps researchers to better constrain their model simulations because substantial uncertainties remain in the behavior of models in their current form. In addition, modeling studies encourage observational research by integrating observational data within a comprehensive framework. They do this by demanding more long-term and high-quality data related to specific ecological processes, and by identifying high-priority processes and parameters that should be studied. We describe the types of modeling studies that have been conducted and how observational data from the Takayama site have improved the accuracy of these models. Many terrestrial ecosystem models have been applied to data from the site, both to validate the present forms of the models and to refine the structure and parameterization of the models. The development of new or improved terrestrial ecosystem models will be further facilitated by the requirements to simulate atmosphere–ecosystem exchanges and internal biogeochemical processes, as well as simulating their responses to a changing environment. We conclude by discussing the remaining research gaps and opportunities for deepening our understanding of terrestrial ecosystems through future collaborative studies.


Carbon cycle Global change Interdisciplinary research Net ecosystem exchange Temperate deciduous forest 



A Grant-in-Aid from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (no. 26281014) supported this study. Dr. Kazuhito Ichii (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology) provided the model intercomparison results. The present authors thank all site founders, collaborators, and data managers working at the Takayama site.


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© The Ecological Society of Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyYokohamaJapan
  3. 3.River Basin Research CenterGifu UniversityGifuJapan
  4. 4.School of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

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