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Research Scholar, Ecosystem Services and Management Programme, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Piero Visconti is a Research Scholar with the Ecosystem Services and Management program (ESM) at IIASA.

Dr. Visconti completed a PhD in Conservation Planning between James Cook University and the Global Mammal Assessment programme (GMA) at Sapienza University of Rome jointly in 2011. From 2011 to 2012, he was a postdoc at the University of Rome and thereafter at the Microsoft Research Cambridge Computational Ecology group and at UNEP-WCMC from 2015 to 2016. His research during this period focused on understanding species responses to land-use and climate change and projecting these responses under future global change scenarios. For this research, he developed analytical methods that integrate statistical models of distribution and abundance of species that use presence data and species' life-history traits, with expert-based information on species habitat preferences. While at Microsoft, he also developed methods to enable planning of conservation interventions under severe uncertainty, and methods to survey species’ cost-efficiently borrowing sampling techniques from computer science.
He has been a joint Research Fellow at UCL-CBER and ZSL-IoZ in 2016-2018, where he worked on normative scenarios for biodiversity and stress-testing alternative visions for area-based conservation targets that could replace the Aichi Biodiversity targets 5 and 11.

At IIASA, he is continuing to work on exploratory, normative and ex-ante sustainability scenarios, with a particular focus on pathways that promote biodiversity recovery, at EU, regional and global levels. He is also developing new research that identify global areas of importance for biodiversity conservation and carbon reduction and removal, and ecological models that allow to consider scale-dependent responses of species to different natural and anthropogenic factors.

Along-side his research and supervision activities, he engages in the science-policy interface, for instance through his past role of coordinating lead author of the IPBES Regional Assessment of status and trends and future scenarios of biodiversity and ecosystem services for Europe and Central Asia.


  • 2018–present
    Research Scholar, International Institute for Applied System Analysis