Forests cover approximately 70% of the area contaminated by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in 2011. Following this severe contamination event, radiocaesium (Cs) is anticipated to circulate within these forest ecosystems for several decades. Since the accident, a number of models have been constructed to evaluate the past and future dynamics of Cs in these forests. To explore the performance and uncertainties of these models we conducted a model inter-comparison exercise using Fukushima data. The main scenario addressed an evergreen needleleaf forest (cedar/cypress), which is the most common and commercially important forest type in Japan. We also tested the models with two forest management scenarios (decontamination by removal of soil surface litter and forest regeneration) and, furthermore, a deciduous broadleaf forest (konara oak) scenario as a preliminary modelling study of this type of forest. After appropriate calibration, the models reproduced the observed data reliably and the ranges of calculated trajectories were narrow in the early phase after the fallout. Successful model performances in the early phase were probably attributable to the availability of comprehensive data characterizing radiocaesium partitioning in the early phase. However, the envelope of the calculated model end points enlarged in long-term simulations over 50 years after the fallout. It is essential to continue repetitive verification/validation processes using decadal data for various forest types to improve the models and to update the forecasting capacity of the models.
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