Dr. Franziska Taubert

Leader of Working Group Grassland Modelling


Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ

Department of Ecological Modelling

Permoserstr. 15
04318 Leipzig

Building 1.0, Room 208

Tel.: +49 341 235-1896
Fax: +49 341 235-451896

Franziska Taubert

Research interests

The research in my working group covers the areas of vegetation ecology and ecological modelling (with focus on grasslands) as well as Digital Twin developments and applications - with the following main research topics:

(1) understanding the emergence and maintenance of biodiversity in managed grasslands 

(2) identifying links between plant species diversity, environmental conditions, human impacts and grassland ecosystem functions,

(3) identifying and explaining emergent vegetation patterns from field data and remote sensing products

To this end, we methodologically:

  • develop and apply process-based grassland models of various complexity (see below the GRASSMIND model as example)
  • transfer ecological modelling approaches and workflows into Digital Twin applications
  • couple two or more predictive models describing landscape components to create a comprehensive model system,
  • analyse and advance methodological approaches in vegetation ecology


We have developed the dynamic grassland model GRASSMIND (individual- and process-based) for simulating plant growth and dynamics of species-rich managed temperate grasslands. The model simulates the daily growth dynamics of individual plants and thereby explicitly considers

  • competition between individual plants for light, space, soil water and nitrogen
  • different management regimes (e.g. mowing, irrigation, fertilization)
  • climatic variables and potential changes (e.g. increasing air temperatures, reduced soil water)

Grassmind Grassmind_Logo_long

Since its initial development, the model constantly has further been advanced and applied to different German study sites to understand how plant traits (and related vegetation processes) influence grassland productivity and species composition.

Important publications:

  • Schmid, J. S., Huth, A., & Taubert, F. (2022). Impact of mowing frequency and temperature on the production of temperate grasslands: explanations received by an individual‐based model. Oikos, 2022(9), e09108. full text (doi)
  • Hetzer, J., Huth, A., Taubert, F., (2021): The importance of plant trait variability in grasslands: a modelling study. Ecol. Model. 453 , art. 109606. full text (doi)
  • Schmid, J.S., Huth, A., Taubert, F., (2021): Influences of traits and processes on productivity and functional composition in grasslands: A modeling study. Ecol. Model. 440 , art. 109395. full text (doi)
  • Taubert, F., Hetzer, J., Schmid, J.S., Huth, A., (2020): The role of species traits for grassland productivity. Ecosphere 11 (7), e03205. full text (doi)
  • Taubert, F., Hetzer, J., Schmid, J.S., Huth, A., (2020): Confronting an individual-based simulation model with empirical community patterns of grasslands. PLOS One 15 (7), e0236546. full text (doi)
  • Taubert, F., Frank, K., Huth, A., (2012): A review of grassland models in the biofuel context. Ecol. Model. 245 , 84 - 93. full text (doi)

Here you can download the GRASSMIND model and its model description.

Current projects

EU-HORIZON Infrastructure project BioDT "Biodiversity Digital Twin for Advanced Modelling, Simulation and Prediction Capabilities"

  • Development of a Digital Twin prototype of grassland plant diversity dynamics for local grassland sites in Europe (link)
  • Work package leader of WP6 "Simulation, Modelling and Data Analytics"

LandTrans "Simulator: Modular system of SMART terrestrial models"

  • Leader of team LandVeg (Vegetation Modelling) covering the vegetation models GRASSMIND and FORMIND
  • One of the PIs of the PhD College LISA on "The challenge to explore multifunctional landscapes in a model-based framework: model interfaces and scaling issues"
  • PhD project in PhD Colleg LISA on "Modelling ecological and socio-economic impacts of grasslands"
iDiv Flexpool project "Towards robust detection of plant diversity & management in grasslands’ spectral signals" (co-PI)
since 2019 Leader of Working Group Grassland Modelling
since 2013 Postdoc at the Department of Ecological Modelling
2010 - 2013 PhD student at the Department of Ecological Modelling
2008 - 2010 Master in Applied Mathematics at the University of Applied Science (HTWK) Leipzig
2004 - 2008 Diploma in Business Mathematics at the University of Applied Science (HTWK) Leipzig