Scientific achievements

The Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program has built integrated knowledge and data systems to provide a trusted science base for land management policy processes. These, which apply to many global regions, aim to improve human wellbeing and sustainable management of the Earth’s natural resources.

© Vítek Prchal | Dreamstime

© Vítek Prchal | Dreamstime

Guiding production and consumption choices that are consistent across scales and compatible with maintaining equitable access to multiple global ecosystem services is a scientific challenge that ESM is uniquely positioned to address. Its cluster of citizen science and modularly linked, land-resource assessment tools has provided vital advances for science as well as assistance to policymakers around the world.

In 2015, ESM research has addressed a diverse range of topics. Highlights include work on nutrient dynamics and their impacts on agricultural systems, which were investigated under ESM’s IMBALANCE-P project, as well as by teams using the IIASA model EPIC. ESM also contributed to an Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report, a substantial body of work entitled: Policy support tools and methodologies for scenario analysis and modeling of biodiversity and ecosystem services based on a fast track assessment and a guide.

Agro-Environmental Systems

The Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program’s Agro-Ecological Systems (AES) group worked to advance global and regional gridded crop modeling, investigating the impacts of future climate change and nutrient depletion. The vulnerability of crop production to climate change was a key focus for the group. More

Earth Observation Systems

The Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program’s Earth Observation Systems (EOS) group has extended its work in harnessing the power of citizen science, modeling the effects of climate change on urban areas, and assessing forest carbon budgets. More

Environmental Resources and Development

The Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program’s Environmental Resources and Development (ERD) group have applied stochastic GLOBIOM to examine the trade-offs between vital land-use factors, such as food and water security. Land use is also at the forefront of their work helping policymakers to develop viable strategies for implementing Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) policies. More

Methods for Economic Decision-Making under Uncertainty

The Methods for Economic Decision-Making under Uncertainty (MEDU) group, part of Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM), was involved in a number of assessments of the potential for emissions reductions from land use, land-use change, and forestry. More

Policy and Science Interface

The Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program’s Policy and Science Interface (PSI) group aims to strengthen the role played by the ESM research program within the field of climate and land-use change. More

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Last edited: 10 March 2016


Michael Obersteiner

Principal Research Scholar Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

Florian Kraxner

Research Group Leader and Principal Research Scholar Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

Further information



International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313