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CNMM: Catchment Nutrient Management Model


Yong Li

Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hunan 410125, China





CNMM (Catchment Nutrient Management Model) is a 3D spatially-distributed, grid-based and process-oriented biophysical model comprehensively developed to simulate energy balance, hydrology, plant/crop growth, biogeochemistry of life elements (e.g., C, N and P), waste treatment, waterway vegetation/purification, stream water quality and land management in agricultural watersheds as affected by land utilization strategies such as BMPs and by climate change. The CNMM is driven by a number of spatially-distributed data such as weather, topography (including DEM and shading), stream network, stream water, soil, vegetation and land management (including waste treatments), and runs at an hourly time step. It represents a catchment as a matrix of square uniformly-sized cells, where each cell is defined as a homogeneous hydrological response unit with all the hydrologically-significant parameters the same but varied at soil depths in fine intervals. Therefore, spatial variability is represented by allowing parameters to vary horizontally and vertically in space. A four-direction flux routing algorithm is applied to route water and nutrients across soils of cells governed by the gradients of either water head or elevation. A linear channel reservoir scheme is deployed to route water and nutrients in stream networks. The model is capable of computing CO2, CH4, NH3, NO, N2O and N2 emissions from soils and stream waters.

The CNMM can serve as an idea modelling tool to investigate the overwhelming critical zone research at various catchment scales.


Screen shots


Scientific articles

1.  Li, Y., Chen, D., Zhang, Y.M., Ding, H., Edis, R., 2005. Comparison of three modeling approaches for simulating denitrification and nitrous oxide emissions from loam-textured arable soils. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 19, GB3002, DOI 10.1029/2004GB002392.

2.  Li, Y., Chen, D., White, R., Zhang, J., Li, B., Zhang, Y., Huang, Y., Edis, R., 2007. A Spatially Referenced Water and Nitrogen Management Model (WNMM) for (irrigated) intensive cropping systems in the North China Plain. Ecological Modelling, 203: 395-423.

3. Li, Y., Chen, D., White, R.E., Zhu, A., Zhang, J., 2007. Estimating soil hydraulic properties of Fengqiu County soils in the North China Plain using pedo-transfer functions. Geoderma, 138: 261-271.

4.  Sun, B., Chen., D., Li, Y. and Wang, X. 2008 Nitrogen leaching in an upland cropping system on an acid soil in subtropical China: lysimeter measurements and simulation. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 81: 291-303. doi: 10.1007/s10705-008-9164-4.

5.  Chen, D., Li, Y., Grace, P. and Mosier, A.R. 2008. N2O Emissions from Agricultural Lands: A Synthesis of Simulation Approaches. Plant and Soil, 309: 169-189. doi: 10.1007/s11104-008-9634-0.

6.  Li, Y., Chen, D., Barker-Reid, F. and Eckard, R. 2008. Simulation of N2O emissions from a rain-fed wheat-cropped soil and the impact of climate variation in southeastern Australia. Plant and Soil, 309: 239-251. doi: 10.1007/s11104-008-9672-7.

7.  Park, K., Lee, D., Li, Y, Chen, D., Park, C., Lee, Y., Lee, C., Kang, U., Park, S. and Cho, Y. 2008. Simulating ammonia volatilization from applications of different urea applied in rice field by WNMM. Korean Journal of Crop Science, 53(1), 8-14.

8.  Ahrens, T.D., Lobell, D.B., Ortiz-Monasterio, J.I., Li, Y. Matson, P.A. 2010. Narrowing the agronomic yield gap with improved nitrogen use efficiency: a modeling approach. Ecological Applications, 20(1): 91-100.

9.  Li, Y., Barton, L. and Chen, D. 2012. Simulating the response of N2O emissions to fertilizer N application and climatic variability from a rain-fed and wheat-cropped soil in Western Australia. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 92: 1130–1143. doi:10.1002/jsfa.4643.

10.  Chen, D., Li, Y. and Kelly, K. 2010. Simulating N2O emissions from an intensively-irrigated and urea/urine-affected pasture soil in Kyabram. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 136(3-4): 333-342.

11.  Hu, K.L., Li, Y., Chen, W.P., Wei, Y.P., Chen, D.L., Edis, R., Li, B.G., Huang, Y.F., Zhang, Y.P. 2010. Modelling nitrate leaching and optimizing water and nitrogen management under irrigated maize in desert oasis in North-western China. Journal of Environmental Quality. 39: 1-11.

12.  Jiang, R., Li, Y., Wang, Q., Kuramochi, K., Hayakawa,A., Woli, K.P., Hatano, R. 2011. Modeling the water balance processes for understanding the components of river discharge in a non-conservative watershed. Transactions of the ASABE, 54(6): 2171-2180.

13.  He, Y., Hu, K.L., Wang, H., Huang, Y.F., Chen, D.L., Li, B.G., Li, Y. 2012. Modeling of water and nitrogen utilization of layered soil profiles under a wheat-maize cropping system. Mathematical and Computer Modelling. doi:10.1016/j.mcm.2011.10.060.

14.  Li, Y., Wu, J., Liu, S., Shen, J.L., Huang, D., Su, Y.R., Wei, W.X., Syers, J.K. 2012. Is the C:N:P stoichiometry in soil and soil microbial biomass related to the landscape and land use in southern subtropical China? Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 26(4): 1-14. doi: 10.1029/2012GB004399.

15. Luo, Q., Li, Y., Wang, K.L., Wu, J. 2013. Application of the SWAT model to the Xiangjiang river watershed in subtropical central China. Water Science & Technology, 67(9): 2110-2116.  doi: 10.2166/wst.2013.100.

16. Li, Y., Wang, W.J., Reeves, S., Dalal, R.C. 2013. Simulation of N2O emissions and mitigation options for rainfed wheat cropping on a Vertosol in the subtropics. Soil Research, 51(2): 152-166. doi: 10.1071/SR12274.

17. Wang, Y., Li, Y., Liu, F., Li, Y.Y., Song, L.F., Li, H., Meng, C., Wu, J.S. 2014. Linking rice agriculture to nutrient chemical composition, concentration and mass flux in catchment streams in subtropical central China. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 184: 9-20.

18. Li, Y.Y., Meng, C., Gao, R., Yang, W., Jiao, J., Li, Y., Wang, Y., Wu, J.S. 2014. Study on phosphorus loadings in ten natural and agricultural watersheds in subtropical region of China. Environment Monitoring and Assessment, 186(5): 2717-27. doi: 10.1007/s10661-013-3573-9.

19. Zhou, P., Li, Y., Ren, X.E., Xiao, H.A., Tong, C.L., Ge, T.D., Brookes, P.C., Shen, J.L., Wu, J.S. 2014. Organic carbon mineralization responses to temperature increases in subtropical paddy soils. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 14(1): 1-9.

20. Wang, Y., Li, Y., Liu, X.L., Li, Y.Y., Song, L.F., Li, H., Ma, Q.M., Liu, F., Wu, J.S. 2014. Relating land use patterns to stream nutrient levels in red soil agricultural catchments in subtropical central China. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-2921-9.

21. Shen, J.L, Liu, J.Y., Li, Y., Li, Y.Y., Wang, Y., Liu, X.J., Wu, J.S. 2014. Contribution of atmospheric nitrogen deposition to diffuse pollution in a typical hilly red soil catchment in southern China. Journal of Environmental Sciences (in press).

22. Li, Y. 2016. CNMM: a spatially-distributed, grid-based and process-oriented catchment simulation model and its applications. Beijing (China): Science Press.

Technical information

Operating system(s): Windows 7 or Linux

Licence: open source (C language)

Output(s): Energy balance, hydrology, C-N-P cycling, plant/crop growth, stream flow and water quality and waste management

Export format(s): ASCII text and ARC GRID (esri)

Other information: relatively complex

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