DNDC is a computer simulation model of carbon and nitrogen biogeochemistry in agro-ecosystems. The model can be used for predicting crop growth, soil temperature and moisture, carbon dynamics, nitrogen leaching, and trace gases emissions.
The DNDC model can assess the soil matter turnover, which can indirectly indicate the state of degradation. It is a point-scale model and can be extrapolated to large spatial extents using remote sensing and GIS approaches.
The DNDC model was initially developed in the 1990s for quantifying carbon sequestration and emissions of nitrous oxide, nitrogen and carbon dioxide from agricultural soils in the USA. This was done by modeling coupled decomposition and denitrification processes to predict carbon and nitrogen turnover in agricultural soils. Since then the original DNDC model has been adapted to include different scenarios and ecosystems including forests, wetlands and rice paddies. According to Gilhespy et al.'s (2014) survey, 41% of survey respondents use DNDC-based models for estimating nitrous oxide emissions, whilst 54% of survey respondents use it for assessing the potential impacts of land use change.