The TELLUS Model

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TELLUS is an Agent-Based Model (ABM) being applied to food and land use systems. ABMs are a form of Complex Human Environmental Scenario Simulation (CHESS), used to capture the complexity and non-linear dynamics (e.g., tipping points) of an interacting population of heterogeneous agents (in the case of TELLUS, populations of individual farms, their market and environmental context).

This work involves identifying policy levers that could support critical transitions on the supply side (e.g., the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices), whilst taking into account the interplay between these policy levers and scenarios of interest (e.g., shocks) in producing system adaptations (e.g., changes in resilience to future shocks).

The modelling approach to which TELLUS belongs is thus uniquely suited to the analysis of highly non-linear systems, characterised by spatial complexity, uncertainties, lags, thresholds, and tipping points, such as those inherent to food systems. Such features make prediction and intuitive understanding of policy effectiveness very hard to predict. From the point of view of policy analysis, TELLUS offers the unique opportunity to study how information flows, constraints, costs and behavioural differences shape the effectiveness of policy interventions.