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In the “World of Cows”, dairy farmers run their farms and interact with each other, the surrounding agricultural landscape, and the economic and political framework. The model serves as an exemplary case of an interdependent human-environment system.
With the model, users can analyze the influence of policies and markets on land use decisions of dairy farms. The land use decisions taken by farms determine the delivered ecosystem services on the landscape level. Users can choose a combination of five policy options and how strongly market prices fluctuate. Ideally, the choice of policy options fulfills the following three “political goals” 1) dairy farming stays economically viable, 2) the provision of ecosystem services is secured, and 3) government spending on subsidies is as low as possible.
The model has been designed for students to practice agent-based modeling and analyze the impacts of land use policies.