Food and Water

IIASA research concentrates on solution-oriented approaches within the following four integrative research themes: food security, integrated watershed management, optimizing multiple uses of terrestrial ecosystem services, and safeguarding sustainable seafood and aquatic ecosystems.

Increasing global demands for food and freshwater are pressuring the world’s land and ocean resources and are compromising the integrity of earth-system functioning. Human exploitation of natural resources has resulted in the degradation of land and vegetation over vast areas, overexploitation of marine resources, depletion of aquifers, unsustainable restructuring of natural landscapes, and losses of biodiversity. These drivers are projected to persistently impact ecosystem services beyond those merely relating to provisioning, trigger ecological and evolutionary responses, and be aggravated by climate change. Integrated solution strategies for managing the confluent large-scale risks under such altered conditions are as yet poorly researched, due to information paucity and gaps in understanding total system behavior.

Food and Water Research at IIASA

IIASA pursues a systems approach in which food and water resources are viewed as embedded in the wider context of land, marine, and ecosystem management, conditioned by natural resource endowments, and dependent on socioeconomic developments and sustainable growth. Research in the "Food and water" global problem area concentrates on solution-oriented approaches within the following four integrative research themes:

  • food security,
  • integrated watershed management,
  • optimizing multiple uses of terrestrial ecosystem services, and
  • safeguarding sustainable seafood and aquatic ecosystems.

More information about current research in IIASA's ‘Food and water’ global problem area can be accessed by clicking the links below and right.


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Advanced Systems Analysis
The Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA) Program contributes the following project to the Food and Water Research Area: Modeling the Structure of Forests.


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Evolution and Ecology
The Evolution and Ecology (EEP) Program's work on the Integrated assessment of fishery systems and on Evolutionarily sustainable consumption examines options and challenges for the development of aquatic food resources. More.


Ecosystems Services and Management

The Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program aims to improve our understanding of ecosystems in today’s changing world—in particular, the current state of ecosystems, and their ecological thresholds and buffering capacities. More



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Mitigation of Air Pollution & Greenhouse Gases
The Mitigation of Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases (MAG) program explores the role of the global nitrogen cycle, and how appropriate management could benefit food production, local pollution, and global climate change. For example, the Effects of Climate Change on Air Pollution and Response Strategies for European Ecosystems (ECLAIRE) project looks at the effects of climate change in Europe. More.



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Risk, Policy, and Vulnerability
The Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV) Program’s research includes extensive work on resilience and adaptive capacity of social-ecological systems. Current work explores options for improving water retention as an adaptive response to flood and drought risk. More
Water Futures and Solutions

The Water Futures and Solutions Initiative is a ground-breaking study into sustainable solutions to meet local, national, and global water challenges. It is looking for additional partners from the development, business, and scientific community. More


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Last edited: 05 April 2016

Water Futures and Solutions: World Water Scenarios

Mapping Land Use

Advising Fisheries

Protecting Global Forests

Options: Feature Articles

Improving Crop Yields

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313