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Personal profile

Personal information

Žiga Malek’s main research interests are the changes to land systems and the associated consequences in terms of risk and changes to limited resources such as freshwater. Specifically his interests are analysing changes in future land use, land cover and land management due to growing food demand, evaluating potential adaptation options (such as irrigation efficiency improvements), identifying the tradeoffs between future cropland expansion, intensification and biodiversity protection, and improving the simulation of responses to climate change in land system modeling. He uses a wide variety of tools from spatial analysis and modeling carried out using remote sensing, geographic information systems and environmental simulation, to identifying driving forces of environmental change and development of future socio-economic scenarios through participatory modelling. He is interested in regions in socio-economic transition and areas particularly vulnerable to global changes, for example mountainous and (semi)arid regions, such as the Mediterranean.

Before joining the environmental geography group, Žiga worked as a researcher in Austria at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the University of Vienna. There, he worked on the potential effects of land systems changes on future hydro-meteorological risks.


Land systems, spatial analysis and modeling, scenarios, GIS, hydro-meteorological risk.


​2015: PhD in Natural Sciences, Dr. rer. nat. (Doctor of Natural Science)​ ​University of Vienna, Austria. Thesis: Combining participatory and geospatial modelling to generate spatially explicit land change scenarios.   ​

2010: University degree in Landscape Architecture (MSc equivalent) ​University of Ljubljana, Slovenia​.

Ancillary activities

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Ancillary activities are updated daily


  • GE Environmental Sciences
  • land systems
  • land use change
  • global change
  • environmental modelling
  • Spatial Analysis
  • GIS

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2014 2019

Adaptations in irrigated agriculture in the Mediterranean region: an overview and spatial analysis of implemented strategies

Harmanny, K. S. & Malek, Z., 1 Jun 2019, In : Regional Environmental Change. 19, 5, p. 1401-1416 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
spatial analysis
water management
water resource

Beyond land cover change: towards a new generation of land use models

Verburg, P. H., Alexander, P., Evans, T., Magliocca, N. R., Malek, Z., Rounsevell, M. & van Vliet, J., May 2019, In : Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 38, p. 77-85 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Estimating the global distribution of field size using crowdsourcing

Lesiv, M., Laso Bayas, JC., See, L., Duerauer, M., Dahlia, D., Durando, N., Hazarika, R., Sahariah, P. K., Vakolyuk, M., Blyshchyk, V., Bilous, A., Pérez-Hoyos, A., Gengler, S., Prestele, R., Bilous, S., Akhtar, I. H., Singha, K., Choudhury, SB., Chetri, T., Malek, Z. & 13 othersBungnamei, K., Saikia, A., Sahariah, D., Narzary, W., Danylo, O., Sturn, T., Karner, M., McCallum, I., Schepaschenko, D., Moltchanova, E., Fraisl, D., Moorthy, I. & Fritz, S., Jan 2019, In : Global Change Biology. 25, 1, p. 174-186 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Remote sensing
Satellite imagery

Towards better mapping of forest management patterns: A global allocation approach

Schulze, K., Malek, Ž. & Verburg, P. H., 15 Jan 2019, In : Forest Ecology and Management. 432, p. 776-785 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

forest management
climate change
conservation planning

Economic Losses for Rural Land Value Due to Landslides

Zumpano, V., Pisano, L., Malek, Ž., Micu, M., Aucelli, P. P. C., Rosskopf, C. M., Balteanu, D. & Parise, M., 25 Jul 2018, In : Frontiers in Earth Science. 6, p. 1-13 13 p., 97.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
rural area
spatial planning
natural hazard