ESM Research Projects - Selection

A selection of ongoing projects of the ESM Program.

Crowdsourcing Farmers' Data: Agri-Support and CIMMYT Collaboration Projects

The Agri-support and CIMMYT Collaboration projects aim to provide crowdsourced solutions for field data collection while at the same time providing farmers with agronomical feedback and warnings through the use of a mobile app. Crop condition information is of particular interest in cloud prone areas in order to complement satellite based crop condition monitoring. More

Cameroon Deforestation Drivers and REDD+ Support Study

This study will support the national REDD+ strategy in Cameroon by analyzing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, proposing a methodology to compute the reference level of the emissions from deforestation, and propose different mitigation options and assess their impact on the landscape. More

C-GLOPS: Copernicus Global Land Cover maps at a 100m resolution

The project aims to develop annual global land cover maps with a 100m resolution consistent over time, and has been tracking land cover changes since 2015. More


The purpose of this project is to gain further insight into the dynamics, identify tipping points in biodiversity conservation and the resilience of social ecological systems in forests of the Congo Basin. It also aims to construct, on different spatiotemporal scales, scenarios of these dynamics that could be used as decision-support tools. More


IIASA is contributing modeling expertise and support for the CONSENSUS project, which aims to deliver tools to provide decision makers with optimal choices in two important EU policy areas: biofuels and climate change (EU Renewable Energy Directive) and Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T). More

Crowdsourcing for post-disaster damage mapping

The project takes aim at rapid damage mapping using crowd-sourced data and satellite imagery to support humanitarian relief efforts and post-disaster recovery. More


This project is funded by the ERC Consolidator Grant. It assesses the potential of using crowdsourcing to close big data gaps of ground sourced data on land cover, land use and change. The project builds on the Geo-Wiki crowdsourcing tool and moves from an online environment to a mobile ground-based collection system. More


The overall aim of the EducEO project, which is funded by the European Space Agency, is to foster the use of new and emerging information and communication technologies (ICT), e.g. location-enabled mobile devices, Web 2.0 and the Internet of Things, etc., in combination with citizen science to enhance the scientific exploitation of Earth Observation (EO) data while simultaneously supporting education and public awareness raising of EO. More


EUCLIMIT performs model-based scenario quantification which supports the European Commission in undertaking impact assessments and analysing policy options for implementing and further developing the Climate and Energy package and other climate-relevant policies in the EU. More


Over the past 15 years unusually hot and dry summers have highlighted the financial vulnerability of European farmers beyond the arid regions of the Mediterranean. European policy makers have responded to increased agricultural production risk by providing premium subsidies from the community’s budget; these act as a risk-management instrument by decreasing the region’s reliance on ad hoc disaster relief. More

FloodCitiSense: Early Warning Service for Urban Pluvial Floods for and by Citizens and City Authorities

How can citizens and city authorities work together using crowdsourcing and mobile technology to create a reliable pluvial flood early warning system? More

Social and Political Conditions for Satisfying the World Food Needs (FoodSecure)

The FoodSecure project responds to the challenge of food shortages and volatility by enabling stakeholders to design sustainable strategies to assess and address the short- and long-term challenges of food security. More

Forest Gov DRC

This project is funded by the Government of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NORAD). It aims to build an independent alliance that can efficiently monitor forest governance in the DRC and to promote the conservation of natural forests to maintain their carbon storage capacity particularly in REDD+ areas.  More

Freedom, Emergence, and Dimensions

The Freedom, Emergence, and Dimensions (FRED) project will explore contributions from the Ergodic Theory of Chaos to systems analysis. More

Future Forests

The Future Forests project, a collaboration between the Future Forests Program and IIASA, will provide insights into the impact of the Swedish forest sector on global land use by quantifying the area covered by managed forest and by assessing how the development of short-rotation plantations will affect carbon mitigation. More

Operational Global Carbon Observing System (GEOCarbon)

The GEOCarbon Project will coordinate the contribution of European and international research institutes to the development of an Operational Global Integrated Carbon Observation and Analysis System. More


The GROW Observatory – an EU-wide citizen science project for growers, gardeners, small-scale farmers, and space scientists More


The IIASA-IFAD programme is a cornerstone activity in IFAD’s global initiative to conduct rigorous impact evaluations in about 26 countries. It has 2 components: 1) a data enhancement component 2) a scenario building component. These 2 components enhance the data base for the impact evaluations and provide a sector policy and strategy context for these evaluations; and together with IFAD’s impact evaluations programme, these 2 programme components provide policy makers with science-based evidence for policy surveillance and policy development. This programme, in effect, contributes a macro-dimension to IFAD’s impact evaluation work which will lead to more efficient allocation of resources and higher impact of development interventions on rural poor. More


IIASA is quantifying the responses of ecosystems and society in a world increasingly rich in N and C but limited in P. The ongoing shifts in C:N:P balances in ecosystems will necessarily affect the structure, function and diversity of the Earth system.  More


The LACO-Wiki project will integrate the current LACOVAL (LAnd Cover VALidation) software prototype for the validation of land cover maps with Geo-Wiki, a visualization and crowdsourcing tool. The result will be an open access on-line validation platform offering standardized validation functionality for map users and producers.  More

Land use foresight modeling for Indonesia, Brazil and the Congo Basin

In this project, we study the effects of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and large-scale reforestation plans in Brazil, the Congo Basin and Indonesia as well as the contribution of the zero deforestation pledge by large scale palm oil companies in Indonesia, on the evolution of forest and other land cover, climate change mitigation, food security and international trade of palm oil, beef and soy. More

LandSense: A Citizen Observatory and Innovation Marketplace for Land Use and Land Cover Monitoring

How can citizen-powered science coupled with mobile technology improve our understanding and governance of land use and land cover changes? More


The LEDPathways aims to identify low emission agricultural pathways and priorities for mitigation in agricultural landscapes using integrated assessment modelling and scenarios. More

Delivering Incentives to End Deforestation: Global Ambition, Private/Public Finance, and Zero-Deforestation Supply Chains (NORAD DITED)

The project's planned effect on society is to protect tropical forests and the carbon they contain, while supporting sustainable livelihoods for communities that depend on them by creating durable, large-scale economic incentives for forest protection through pay-for-performance policies (such as jurisdictional REDD+) and corporate commitments to zero-deforestation commodity supply chains, and building the finance approaches, institutional capacity and strong forest governance needed to respond effectively to those incentives. More

Development and application of global economy-wide climate change modelling capacity to support EU policy preparation

In this project, analytical tools are used to analyse policy-relevant questions from the European Commission to inform them of developments in the field of energy policies and climate policies on a global scale. More

Quantifying the indirect land use change impact of biofuels consumed in the EU (ILUC)

In an assignment for the European Commission, a consortium of Ecofys, IIASA and E4tech will use the GLOBIOM model to assess indirect land use change impacts of conventional and advanced biofuels consumed in the EU. More

The Next Step in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD-PAC)

REDD-PAC aims to develop technical know-how and capacity in designing efficient, effective and environmentally relevant policy strategies for the on-going UN-REDD programme More

Study on Impacts on Resource Efficiency of Future EU Demand for Bioenergy (ReceBio)

A study on resource efficiency impacts enhanced understanding of how improved resource efficiency could reduce the negative impact of the EU’s increasing use of bioenergy. More

RESTORE+: Addressing Landscape Restoration on Degraded Land in Indonesia and Brazil

RESTORE+ aims to explore restoration and utilization options of tropical degraded and/or marginal land in order to ease pressure on deforestation as well as mitigating climate change. The project aspires to generate innovative methodology that combines multi-objective modelling (utilizing more than five in-house and newly developed models) with advanced big data and crowd-empowered remote sensing analyses. More

Robust Rescaling Methods for Integrated Water, Food, Energy Security Management under Uncertainties and Risks

This project will develop new robust, non-Bayesian probabilistic cross-entropy based rescaling techniques to improve the integration of models and data used in the study of food, water, and energy security under inherent uncertainties and risks. More

Supplying Non-food Biomass in Europe (S2Biom)

The S2Biom project will facilitate the sustainable supply of non-food biomass at the local, regional, and pan-European levels. More


Droughts are complex events, ranking first with regard to the number of people affected, economic loss and the size of the area affected. Early warning systems often use the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) derived from remote sensing to examine the vegetation profile throughout the growing season, looking for anomalies that could indicate drought conditions and reduced crop yields. At present, satellite-derived soil moisture information is not used as a drought indicator yet it has untapped potential for early warning purposes (Enenkel et al., 2014). More


Spatial inventory of carbon emissions and sinks in forestry at scales from local to national significantly increases understanding of the carbon cycling and reduces uncertainty of the inventory results. The project focuses on development of advanced methodologies which are based on explicit spatial approaches to analyze emissions/removals within a Full Verified Greenhouse Gas Account of forest ecosystems at multiple scales. More


The SIGMA project provides EU support to the international GEOGLAM (Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring) initiative, which together will strengthen the international community’s capacity to produce and disseminate relevant, timely and accurate forecasts of agricultural production at national, regional and global scales using Earth Observation. More

Systems thinking for transformation

The systems thinking for transformation (SYSTRANS) project will explore ways in which IIASA can extend its public engagement and education efforts to foster systems thinking and transformation. More

Tropical Futures Initiative

IIASA’s Tropical Futures Initiative represents a novel approach to tackling tropical deforestation through policy assessment and capacity building. More

WeObserve: An ecosystem of citizen observatories for environmental monitoring

How will building a sustainable ecosystem of citizen observatories help move citizen science into the mainstream? More

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Last edited: 17 January 2018


Michael Obersteiner

Program Director

Ecosystems Services and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 460

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