Computational Model Library

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This purpose of this model is to understand how the coupled demographic dynamics of herds and households constrain the growth of livestock populations in pastoral systems.

This is an extension of the original RAGE model (Dressler et al. 2018), where we add learning capabilities to agents, specifically learning-by-doing and social learning (two processes central to adaptive (co-)management).

The extension module is applied to smallholder farmers’ decision-making - here, a pasture (patch) is the private property of the household (agent) placed on it and there is no movement of the households. Households observe the state of the pasture and their neighrbours to make decisions on how many livestock to place on their pasture every year. Three new behavioural types are created (which cannot be combined with the original ones): E-RO (baseline behaviour), E-LBD (learning-by-doing) and E-RO-SL1 (social learning). Similarly to the original model, these three types can be compared regarding long-term social-ecological performance. In addition, a global strategy switching option (corresponding to double-loop learning) allows users to study how behavioural strategies diffuse in a heterogeneous population of learning and non-learning agents.

An important modification of the original model is that extension agents are heterogeneous in how they deal with uncertainty. This is represented by an agent property, called the r-parameter (household-risk-att in the code). The r-parameter is catch-all for various factors that form an agent’s disposition to act in a certain way, such as: uncertainty in the sensing (partial observability of the resource system), noise in the information received, or an inherent characteristic of the agent, for instance, their risk attitude.

This is a replication of the SequiaBasalto model, originally built in Cormas by Dieguez Cameroni et al. (2012, 2014, Bommel et al. 2014 and Morales et al. 2015). The model aimed to test various adaptations of livestock producers to the drought phenomenon provoked by climate change. For that purpose, it simulates the behavior of one livestock farm in the Basaltic Region of Uruguay. The model incorporates the price of livestock, fodder and paddocks, as well as the growth of grass as a function of climate and seasons (environmental submodel), the life cycle of animals feeding on the pasture (livestock submodel), and the different strategies used by farmers to manage their livestock (management submodel). The purpose of the model is to analyze to what degree the common management practices used by farmers (i.e., proactive and reactive) to cope with seasonal and interannual climate variations allow to maintain a sustainable livestock production without depleting the natural resources (i.e., pasture). Here, we replicate the environmental and livestock submodel using NetLogo.

One year is 368 days. Seasons change every 92 days. Each day begins with the growth of grass as a function of climate and season. This is followed by updating the live weight of cows according to the grass height of their patch, and grass consumption, which is determined based on the updated live weight. After consumption, cows grow and reproduce, and a new grass height is calculated. Cows then move to the patch with less cows and with the highest grass height. This updated grass height value will be the initial grass height for the next day.

The Land Use Competition in Drylands (LUCID) model is a stylized agent-based model of a smallholder farming system. Its main purpose is to illustrate how competition between pastoralism and crop cultivation can affect livelihoods of households, specifically their food security. In particular, the model analyzes whether the expansion of crop cultivation may contribute to a vicious circle where an increase in cultivated area leads to higher grazing pressure on the remaining pastureland, which in turn may cause forage shortages and livestock loss for households which are then forced to further expand their cultivated area in order to increase their food security. The model does not attempt to replicate a particular case study but to generate a general understanding of mechanisms and drivers of such vicious circles and to identify possible scenarios under which such circles may be prevented.

The model is inspired by observations of the Borana land use system in Southern Ethiopia. The climatic and ecological conditions of the Borana zone favor pastoralism, and traditionally livelihoods have been based mainly on livestock keeping. Recent years, however, have seen an advancement of crop cultivation as a coping strategy, e.g., to compensate the loss of livestock, even though crop yields are low on average and successful harvests are infrequent.

In the model, it is possible to evaluate patterns of individual (single household) as well as overall (across all households) consumption and food security, depending on a range of ecological, climatic and management parameters.

This model has been created with and for the researcher-farmers of the Muonde Trust (, a registered Zimbabwean non-governmental organization dedicated to fostering indigenous innovation. Model behaviors and parameters (mashandiro nemisiyano nedzimwe model) derive from a combination of literature review and the collected datasets from Muonde’s long-term (over 30 years) community-based research. The goals of this model are three-fold (muzvikamu zvitatu):
A) To represent three components of a Zimbabwean agro-pastoral system (crops, woodland grazing area, and livestock) along with their key interactions and feedbacks and some of the human management decisions that may affect these components and their interactions.
B) To assess how climate variation (implemented in several different ways) and human management may affect the sustainability of the system as measured by the continued provisioning of crops, livestock, and woodland grazing area.
C) To provide a discussion tool for the community and local leaders to explore different management strategies for the agro-pastoral system (hwaro/nzira yekudyidzana kwavanhu, zvipfuo nezvirimwa), particularly in the face of climate change.

Leptospirosis is a neglected, bacterial zoonosis with worldwide distribution, primarily a disease of poverty. More than 200 pathogenic serovars of Leptospira bacteria exist, and a variety of species may act as reservoirs for these serovars. Human infection is the result of direct or indirect contact with Leptospira bacteria in the urine of infected animal hosts, primarily livestock, dogs, and rodents. There is increasing evidence that dogs and dog-adapted serovar Canicola play an important role in the burden of leptospirosis in humans in marginalized urban communities. What is needed is a more thorough understanding of the transmission dynamics of Leptospira in these marginalized urban communities, specifically the relative importance of dogs and rodents in the transmission of Leptospira to humans. This understanding will be vital for identifying meaningful intervention strategies.
One of the main objectives of MHMSLeptoDy is to elucidate transmission dynamics of host-adapted Leptospira strains in multi-host system. The model can also be used to evaluate alternate interventions aimed at reducing human infection risk in small-scale communities like urban slums.

RaMDry - Rangeland Model in Drylands

Pascal Fust Eva Schlecht | Published Friday, January 05, 2018 | Last modified Friday, April 01, 2022

RaMDry allows to study the dynamic use of forage ressources by herbivores in semi-arid savanna with an emphasis on effects of change of climate and management. Seasonal dynamics affects the amount and the nutritional values of the available forage.

Spatial rangeland model

Marco Janssen | Published Tuesday, January 22, 2019 | Last modified Friday, March 04, 2022

Spatial explicit model of a rangeland system, based on Australian conditions, where grass, woody shrubs and fire compete fore resources. Overgrazing can cause the system to flip from a healthy state to an unproductive shrub state. With the model one can explore the consequences of different movement rules of the livestock on the resilience of the system.

The model is discussed in Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling by Marco Janssen. For more information see


Matthew Sottile | Published Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Pastoralscape is a model of human agents, lifestock health and contageous disease for studying the impact of human decision making in pastoral communities within East Africa on livestock populations. It implements an event-driven agent based model in Python 3.

Large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) threaten smallholder livelihoods globally. Despite more than a decade of research on the LSLA phenomenon, it remains a challenge to identify governance conditions that may foster beneficial outcomes for both smallholders and investors. One potentially promising strategy toward this end is contract farming (CF), which more directly involves smallholder households in commodity production than conditions of acquisition and displacement.

To improve understanding of how CF may mediate the outcomes of LSLAs, we developed an agent-based model of smallholder livelihoods, which we used as a virtual laboratory to experiment on a range of hypothetical LSLA and CF implementation scenarios.

The model represents a community of smallholder households in a mixed crop-livestock system. Each agent farms their own land and manages a herd of livestock. Agents can also engage in off-farm employment, for which they earn a fixed wage and compete for a limited number of jobs. The principal model outputs include measures of household food security (representing access to a single, staple food crop) and agricultural production (of a single, staple food crop).

Displaying 10 of 20 results livestock clear

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