The HortiBonn group focuses on three major lines of research:
A cornerstone of our work is the development and application of holistic modeling approaches. This work is inspired by the principles of decision analysis, which is a pragmatic approach to producing models that are specifically designed to support particular decisions. Such models need to contain everything that is relevant to the decision context, and they should account for all risks and uncertainties. Our methods include participatory modeling, expert calibration, probabilistic simulation and specialized tools to quantify the value of information. We use such holistic modeling in diverse contexts, ranging from agricultural development decisions in Africa to the use of robotics in modern horticultural systems.
In our work on fruit tree dormancy, we combine experimental approaches with process-based modeling to investigate and model the impacts of environmental cues on dormant fruit trees. We use the resulting insights to simulate tree dormancy under climate change scenarios, looking at possible risks of winter chill deficiency and spring frost damage.
We are also interested in agroforestry systems, in which trees or other woody perennials are integrated into livestock and/or field crop production systems. We develop models to project the impacts of such integration on ecological, economic and social outcomes, to derive insights on adoption barriers and to develop recommendations for policy-makers aiming to create an enabling environment for this promising land use type.
Apart from that we work on an eclectic mix of other topics related to horticulture and agriculture. This website provides an overview of our main projects and research themes.