Michael Obersteiner profile picture

Michael Obersteiner

Principal Research Scholar

Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems Research Group

Advancing Systems Analysis Program


Michael Obersteiner is director of the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University. He first joined IIASA as part of the former Forestry Program in 1993. He was Program Director of the former IIASA Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program until June 2019, where he led and developed the ESM Program from its inception to an inter-disciplinary research cluster of over 100 staff. His background includes the fields of global terrestrial ecosystems and economics, having completed graduate studies both in Austria (BOKU University and the Institute for Advanced Studies Vienna) and abroad (Columbia University, New York, and the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk). His current research at IIASA stretches from modeling robust Earth system management and supporting the FABLE consortium, to economic stress-testing of supply chain networks.

Obersteiner has led large scale interdisciplinary research projects in the fields of integrated assessment of climate, energy, and land-use. He is the author of over 300 scientific papers covering a very wide range of science fields. He currently serves in the Climate Overshoot Commission and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)'s international resource panel. In addition, he is a lead convening author of two chapters of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and a steering member of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)'s Global Assessment Report. 

Last update: 28 NOV 2023


Li, K., Gao, L., Guo, Z., Dong, Y., Moallemi, E.A., Kou, G., Chen, M., Lin, W., Liu, Q., Obersteiner, M. , Pedercini, M., & Bryan, B.A. (2024). Safeguarding China’s long-term sustainability against systemic disruptors. Nature Communications 15 (1) 10.1038/s41467-024-49725-9.

Pereira, H.M., Martins, I.S., Rosa, I., Kim, H., Leadley, P., Popp, A., van Vuuren, D., Hurtt, G., Quoss, L., Arneth, A., Baisero, D., Bakkenes, M., Chaplin-Kramer, R., Chini, L., Di Marco, M., Ferrier, S., Fujimori, S., Guerra, C., Harfoot, M., Harwood, T., Hasegawa, T., Haverd, V., Havlik, P. , Hellweg, S., Hilbers, J., Hill, S., Hirata, A., Hoskins, A., Humpenöder, F., Janse, J., Jetz, W., Johnson, J., Krause, A., Leclere, D., Matsui, T., Meijer, J., Merow, C., Obersteiner, M. , Ohashi, H., De Palma, A., Poulter, B., Purvis, A., Quesada, B., Rondinini, C., Schipper, A., Settele, J., Sharp, R., Stehfest, E., Strassburg, B., Takahashi, K., Talluto, M., Thuiller, W., Titeux, N., Visconti, P., Ware, C., Wolf, F., & Alkemade, R. (2024). Global trends and scenarios for terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystem services from 1900 to 2050. Science 384 (6694) 458-465. 10.1126/science.adn3441.

Folberth, C. , Wood, S., Wironen, M., Jung, M., Boucher, T., Bossio, D., & Obersteiner, M. (2024). Exploring the potential for nitrogen fertilizer use mitigation with bundles of management interventions. Environmental Research Letters 19 (4) e044027. 10.1088/1748-9326/ad31d8.

Jung, M., Boucher, T.M., Wood, S.A., Folberth, C. , Wironen, M., Thornton, P., Bossio, D., & Obersteiner, M. (2024). A global clustering of terrestrial food production systems. PLoS ONE 19 (2) e0296846. 10.1371/journal.pone.0296846.