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 202

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

Franziska Taubert

Research interests

... cover the areas of vegetation ecology and ecological modelling with focus on grassland ecology and modelling. By developing and applying process-based grassland models, the working group aims to understand the dynamics of temperate grasslands with special interest on:

(a) emergence and maintenance of biodiversity in grasslands,

(b) links between plant trait diversity, plant species dynamics and ecosystem functioning of grasslands,

(c) applying and linking ecological models of different complexity for building and testing ecological theory.

Additional interests:

  • transferring and applying concepts from physics and related disciplines to ecology
  • identifying and explaining emergent vegetation patterns from field data and remote sensing products
  • analysing and advancing statistical methods in vegetation ecology

Main research areas/projects

Simulating species-rich grasslands with GRASSMIND

We have developed the dynamic grassland model GRASSMIND (individual- and process-based) for simulating plant growth and dynamics of species-rich grasslands (including management). 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:

  • 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.

Understanding global forest fragmentation patterns

By the analysis of high-resolution remote sensing data, we show that in the tropics and subtropics similar patterns of the distribution of fragment sizes across the continents America, Africa and Asia-Australia emerge. These patterns closely follow analytical predictions of percolation theory at some specific point (critical point of percolation). We developed a dynamic fragmentation model based on principles of percolation theory which allows to simulate fragmentation of coninental-wide tropical forest areas (of 30 m resolution). In our simulations, we demonstrate that beyond the critical point continental tropical landscapes will consist of 33-fold small and isolated forest fragments in the future if deforestation proceeds as currently observed. Our scenario analysis shows that even efforts of reforestation and decreased deforestation still would lead to an enhanced fragmentation of forests.

See also

Publication: Global patterns of tropical forest fragmentation

Download (accepted manuscript version of 9 January 2018) (1.4 MB)

UFZ press release

Online-Blog (Nature Ecology & Evolution Community, Behind the Paper)

Forests and Grassland Dynamics

Remote Sensing and Ecological Modelling

Forest fragment The aerial photo shows forest fragments of the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest in Northeastern Brazil (Mata Atlântica), surrounded by sugar cane plantations.
Photo: Mateus Dantas de Paula

Explaining the structure of tropcial forests

We developed a forest packing model (FPM) which uses simple principles of stochastic geometry and successfully reproduces the structure of natural tropical forests in terms of

  • their tree size distribution,
  • vertical leaf area distribution, and
  • local horizontal structure (e.g. local forest height, local packing density)

See also

Publication: The structure of tropical forests and sphere packings (open-access)

Forests and Grassland Dynamics

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