Günther Fischer profile picture

Günther Fischer

Emeritus Research Scholar

Water Security Research Group

Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program


Professor DI Gunther Fischer is a senior researcher in land use systems of the Food and Water thematic area at IIASA. He also holds the position of adjunct professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Maryland, USA. His main fields of research are mathematical modeling of ecological-economic systems, econometrics, optimization, applied multi-criteria decision analysis, integrated systems and policy analysis, spatial agro-ecosystems modeling, and climate change impacts and adaptation. He participated in the development of IIASA's world food systems model and was a key contributor to several major food and agricultural studies: On welfare implications of trade liberalization in agriculture; on poverty and hunger; on biofuels and food security; on the climate-water-food-energy-ecosystem nexus; and on climate change and world agriculture. He is collaborating with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on the development and application of the Agro-Ecological Zones methodology and has contributed to major FAO agricultural perspective studies, to IPCC assessment reports, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, WSSD Johannesburg Report Climate Change and Agricultural Vulnerability. He is principal author of a major study (published in 2009) on "Biofuels and Food Security" and contributed to the EU Biofuels Baseline study in 2010/12. Professor Fischer is author of IIASA's LANDFLOW model and principle investigator in a recent study on The impact of EU consumption on deforestation: Comprehensive analysis of the impact of EU consumption on deforestation published by the EU Commission in 2013.

Complementing his global research activities, Professor Fischer has, in recent years, been conducting a number of regional land use systems studies for policy support - e.g., in Europe on issues related to sustainability of land use, and on potentials; challenges and trade-offs of biofuel production and use; in Ukraine on agriculture and rural transformation in transition economies; in China on sustainable agricultural development and food security, with a current focus on water scarcity and agro-environmental impacts in the context of rapid growth; globalization and global change. Professor Fischer has collaborated with the UN FAO on the development, implementation and application of FAO's Agro-ecological Zones (AEZ) methodology to several national and regional resource appraisals in Europe, Africa and Asia. He has contributed to major FAO agricultural perspective studies (published in 1995, 2003, and 2012), and was a co-author of several reports and CD-ROM products jointly published with the FAO.

Professor Fischer is recognized as one of 23 IIASA scientists that have contributed to the large body of IPCC reports. The Nobel Peace Prize (2007) was awarded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore for "their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

Last update: 23 SEP 2013


Vörösmarty, C.J., Stewart-Koster, B., Green, P.A., Boone, E.L., Flörke, M., Fischer, G., Wiberg, D.A., Bunn, S.E., Bhaduri, A., McIntyre, P.B., Sadoff, C., Liu, H., & Stifel, D. (2021). A green-gray path to global water security and sustainable infrastructure. Global Environmental Change 70 e102344. 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102344.

Zhong, H., Feng, K., Sun, L., Tian, Z., Fischer, G., Cheng, L., & Munoz Castillo, R. (2021). Water-land tradeoffs to meet future demands for sugar crops in Latin America and the Caribbean: A bio-physical and socio-economic nexus perspective. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 169 e105510. 10.1016/j.resconrec.2021.105510.

Tramberend, S. , Burtscher, R. , Burek, P. , Kahil, T. , Fischer, G., Mochizuki, J. , Greve, P., Kimwaga, R., Nyenje, P., Ondiek, R., Nakawuka, P., Hyandye, C., Sibomana, C., Luoga, H.P., Matano, A.S., Langan, S. , & Wada, Y. (2021). Co-development of East African regional water scenarios for 2050. One Earth 4 (3) 434-447. 10.1016/j.oneear.2021.02.012.

Fischer, G., Nachtergaele, F.O., van Velthuizen, H., Chiozza, F., Francheschini, G., Henry, M., Muchoney, D., & Tramberend, S. (2021). Global Agro-ecological Zones (GAEZ v4)- Model Documentation. FAO & IIASA , Laxenburg, Austria; Rome, Italy. 10.4060/cb4744en.

Pradhan, P., Kriewald, S., Costa, L., Rybski, D., Benton, T., Fischer, G., & Kropp, J.P. (2020). Urban food systems: how regionalization can contribute to climate change mitigation. Environmental Science & Technology 54 (17) 10551-10560. 10.1021/acs.est.0c02739.