IBIS (Integrated BIosphere Simulator)

The Earth's terrestrial (land-based) ecosystems are critically important to the welfare of humankind. Food, fiber, fresh water, medicines, and forest products are all derived from our terrestrial ecosystems. In addition, terrestrial ecosystems play a central role in regulating the biogeochemical and climate systems of this planet.

To better understand ecological processes, and to evaluate their response to human activity, our research team is developing IBIS (the Integrated Biosphere Simulator) – a comprehensive computer model of the Earth's terrestrial ecosystems.

IBIS simulates a wide variety of ecosystem processes, including

•energy, water, and carbon dioxide exchange between plants, the atmosphere, and the soil

•physiological processes of plants and soil organisms, including photosynthesis and respiration

•seasonal changes of vegetation, including spring budburst, fall senescence, and winter dormancy

•plant growth and plant competition

•nutrient cycling and soil processes

IBIS is one of the few computer models to incorporate this range of processes in a single framework.

We are currently using the model to study how ecosystems respond to changes in land use and climate. We continue to test the IBIS model against detailed field measurements collected from ecosystems around the world.

IBIS is described in

Kucharik, C.J., J.A. Foley, C. Delire, V.A. Fisher, M.T. Coe, J. Lenters, C. Young-Molling, N. Ramankutty, J.M. Norman, and S.T. Gower (2000). Testing the performance of a dynamic global ecosystem model: Water balance, carbon balance and vegetation structure. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 14(3), 795-825.


Foley, J.A., I.C. Prentice, N. Ramankutty, S. Levis, D. Pollard, S. Sitch, and A. Haxeltine (1996). An integrated biosphere model of land surface processes, terrestrial carbon balance, and vegetation dynamics. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 10(4), 603-628.

You may download IBIS, the params files, and the IBIS input files. PLEASE NOTE: This code is available only to check the model as it was used in our research papers. Due to funding constraints, we cannot offer technical help on an individual basis, but consider joining the IBIS yahoo group for current user discussion and about running IBIS.

Updated: 3/6/13

SAGE is a Research Center of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Contact us with feedback, questions or accessibility issues

Copyright © 2012 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System