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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Projects | IRI THESys | Education | Deutschlandstipendium | Themenklasse 2019/20 | Research Summary | System Dynamic: Modelling of the Consequences of Drought on Agriculture

System Dynamic: Modelling of the Consequences of Drought on Agriculture

Nelly Unger, Marie Pratzer and Michaela Daberger

English Deutsch

Germany is affected by the direct effects of climate change and is therefore also confronted with periods of drought. Using system dynamic modelling (SDM), this group of the Themenkasse 2019/20 presents the effects of the drought 2018/2019 on agriculture. The method is to visually represent the interrelationships in an interactive model. Global socio-economic interdependencies (macro level) as well as the interdependencies between water use and agricultural operations (micro level) are represented in an interactive model.


The global socio-economic context includes international trade flows, which can help to compensate crop failures in agriculture. However, these economic interdependencies can also lead to a shift in the dependency structure and influence at least individual trade chains. One of the consequences of the drought 2018 was that Germany became a net importer of grains for the first time in over ten years. The strategy for adapting to long-term water scarcity also depends on social resilience, i.e. the ability of a society to adapt to change. Various aspects of a farm in relation to water scarcity are also affected, as the environmental awareness of farms affects relevant decisions, e.g. in relation to crop diversification, the willingness to invest in resource-efficient technologies and the feeding of rainwater into the irrigation system. Measures that can alleviate water scarcity caused by drought. The investigation of water scarcity in agriculture and its consequences also includes the identification of ambivalences in the dynamics of actors. Such ambivalence is evident, for example, between the components of environmental awareness: even if necessary behavioural changes occur, the results may fall short of expectations. Another ambivalence at the micro level describes the simplified aggregation of farmers as a homogeneous group with uniform values. This assumption is often based on recommendations and strategies for action during periods of drought but does not reflect the heterogeneous reality of farmers in their willingness to act for climate change adaptation and mitigation. It depends on individual problem awareness and risk perception.