Purpose Features Team Contact


Persefone.jl is a multidisciplinary, mechanistic model of socio-ecological systems in agriculture in Europe. It simulates agricultural practices, crop growth, and biodiversity at a landscape scale.

It is intended to be used for:

  • Socio-ecological and agro-ecological research. Persefone.jl provides a collection of fully functioning farm, crop, and animal species models that can be easily set up and configured for new simulation experiments.
  • Creating new animal models. Persefone.jl offers an open-source, adaptable platform to build species models on. The core model takes care of house-keeping tasks (such as reading in maps or saving data), and is written in Julia for high performance.
  • Policy evaluations. Persefone.jl is a decision support tool that can be flexibly adjusted to new scenarios, in order to rapidly conduct impact assessment studies for policy makers and stakeholders.
Persefone.jl is still in development. The first release is targeted for spring 2024.

A field of ripe grain in Thuringia, © Daniel Vedder


Persefone.jl consists of a collection of submodels to represent different parts of agricultural socio-ecological systems:

Farm submodels

Initially, Persefone.jl will simulate typical crop rotations for different regions in Germany. Each crop rotation will by accompanied by normal management practices, including tillage, fertilisation, pesticide application, and harvest. These standard processes will be modifiable by different policy scenarios (e.g. new regulations or subsidies).

At the same time, we are working to expand the model to include a more comprehensive agent-based model of farmer decision making. This will take into account the economic, social, environmental, and political context within which farmers work. With it, the model will be able to analyse how farms are likely to respond to regulatory and market changes, and how their responses affect agricultural landscapes and ecosystems.

Crop submodels

Persefone.jl simulates the growth of multiple European crop types based on weather data and simulated farmers’ actions. Currently, the crop growth model is based on that implemented in ALMaSS . In future, Persefone.jl will additionally include the FAO’s more detailed AquaCrop model .

Animal submodels

Persefone.jl includes individual-based models of multiple animal species that are known to be indicator species for agroecosystems. Each species model includes life-history processes, movement, and energetics (using Dynamic Energy Budgets).

In the first version, the following species models will be included:

  • birds: skylark (Alauda arvensis), yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella), red kite (Milvus milvus)
  • butterflies: meadow brown (Maniola jurtina), small heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)

Later on, population models for important insect functional types will be added (e.g. pollinators, pests, parasitoids).

The full model documentation is here.

A valley in the Hohenlohe region of Germany, © Daniel Vedder


Project and institutional logos

Persefone.jl is developed as part of the CAP4GI project . This project brings together ecologists, economists, NGOs, and farmers to develop recommendations for improving the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) through FEdA , the Research Initiative for the Conservation of Biodiversity.

The model is developed by scientists at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research - UFZ and the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig . The lead developers are Daniel Vedder and Lea Kolb , the project supervisor is Guy Pe'er .

A field of green grain in Thuringia, © Daniel Vedder

All pictures © Daniel Vedder.