Ecosystems Services and Management

The Ecosystem Services and Management Program (ESM) has built integrated knowledge and data systems to provide a trusted science base for land management policy processes in many global regions. These aim to improve human wellbeing and sustainable management of the Earth’s natural resources. Guiding production and consumption choices that are consistent across scales and compatible with the maintenance of equitable access to multiple ecosystem services, is a scientific challenge that ESM is uniquely positioned to address based on its cluster of citizen science and modularly linked land resource assessment tools.
Objectives
  • Initiate and support global policy processes aimed at achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by focusing on integrated multiple natural resource use strategies and monitoring systems.
  • Undertake at least three globally consistent national/regional policy impact assessments relevant to the three Rio Conventions with a potential focus on supporting the measurability of global land restoration initiatives.
  • Launch an annual global commodity market and resources review (including special feature themes such as societal resource-based risks assessment), starting in 2020 with participation of consortium members recruited from IIASA member countries. Create a global natural/bio-resources market assessment network or consortium.
  • Establish an online open access platform for the market assessment consortium by 2020 (including a quantified commodity market outlook). The outlook will start with agriculture and forest sector commodities and will be expanded to eventually also include minerals and metals markets.
  • Establish the global Citizen Science Center (CSC) to initiate, host, and coordinate citizen initiatives aimed at crowd sourcing scientific data (inbound) and bringing research outputs to a wide audience (outbound).
  • Expected impact:
    • Newly designed knowledge systems that drive incremental and transformational policies for ecosystem management and improved human and environmental wellbeing.
    • Resulting portfolios of policy instruments (including observation systems) that are consistent across space, time, and economic/environmental sectors.
Top image © pisaphotography | Shutterstock

Selected highlights

Transforming agriculture in Mexico

Transforming agriculture in Mexico

A freely available mobile application developed by IIASA researchers in collaboration with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (known by its Spanish acronym CIMMYT), is providing farmers in Mexico with tutorials and expert advice to improve their farming practices and crop yields.

A picture paints a thousand words

A picture paints a thousand words

A project run by the IIASA Ecosystem Services and Management Program (ESM) demonstrates how satellite imagery linked with a micro-tasking application such as Picture Pile can support humanitarian efforts. By asking users to answer simple yes-or-no questions, the...

Playing for a sustainable future

Playing for a sustainable future

IIASA teamed up with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission to test and play The World’s Future game–a social simulation game developed by IIASA researchers on the interconnected nature of the Sustainable...

Improving projections of future land use and environmental impacts

Improving projections of future land use and environmental impacts

Earth’s ecosystems are being pushed beyond safe limits in terms of freshwater use, biodiversity, and biogeochemical flows. According to researchers at the IIASA Ecosystem Services and Management Program (ESM), existing modeling tools need to be revisited to ensure...