The Dynamics of Substance Cycles in Soil - Modelling of Soil Processes

Compared with element-based surface balances, more complex model approaches consider additional relevant soil processes such as bioturbation, water balance, translocation into deeper soil layers and surface run-off.

The soil process model EPIC is calibrated according to land management data, allowing predictions for the NABO sites. On the one hand, the model predicts how the contents of nutrients and pollutants in the soil will change under unchanged management conditions; on the other hand, it indicates which soil processes play an important role in the dynamics of element cycles.

Figure: Example of a soil process balance for phosphorous: the relevant inputs and emissions (top); the estimated progression of phosphorous content in topsoil (bottom) with surface balance and process model (EPIC).


  • Müller M., R. D. Peruta. 2014. Impact of farm mangement on soil phosphorus dynamics: a monitoring-modelling approach. BGS-Bulletin 2014. 35: 37-47
  • Della Peruta R., A. Keller, and R. Schulin. 2014. Sensitivity analysis, calibration and validation of EPIC for modelling soil phosphorus dynamics in Swiss agro-ecosystems. Environmental Modelling & Software 62, 97-111.
  • Della Peruta R. 2013. Modelling long-term phosphorus dynamics in Swiss agricultural soils using EPIC. Dissertation ETH Zürich, Departement for Environmental System Science (D-USYS)