Dr Ž. Malek

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+31 20 59 85670
faculteit der bètawetenschappen ( environmental geography )


Žiga’s main research interests are changes to the land systems and the associated consequences in terms of risk and changes to ecosystem services provisioning. Specific interests of his range 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 environmental changes, such as mountainous and Mediterranean regions.

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. Dr. Malek studied landscape architecture at the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. He holds a doctorate in Physical Geography from the University of Vienna.


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

Academic training

2015PhD Institute for Geography and Regional Research, University of Vienna, Austria. Thesis “Combining participatory and geospatial modelling to generate spatially explicit land change scenarios applied to European mountain areas: Italian Alps and Romanian Carpathians”
2010University Degree (MSc equivalent) Landscape Architecture, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Professional employment history

2015-presentResearcher, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
2011-2015Research Assistant, Risk, Policy and Vulnerability Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria
2012-2015PhD Researcher, Geomorphological Systems and Risk Research (ENGAGE) group, University of Vienna, Austria
2013Visiting Researcher, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
2010-2011Environmental and Spatial planner, Trafcons - traffic planning, engineering and consulting, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Recent projects


2015 -presentOPERAs: Ecosystem Science for Policy and Practice. http://operas-project.eu/
2015 -presentLUC4C: Land use change: Assessing the net climate forcing, and options for climate change mitigation and adaptation. http://luc4c.eu/
2014-2015ARISE: Adaptation and Decision Support via Risk Management through Local Burning Embers. http://arise-project.at/
2011-2014CHANGES: Changing Hydro-meteorological Risks as Analyzed by a New Generation of European Scientists. http://www.changes-itn.eu/

Selected publications

Malek, Ž. (2016). Fuzzy-logic Cognitive Mapping: Introduction and Overview of the Method. In Gray, S., Paolisso, M., Jordan, R. & Gray, S. (eds), Environmental Modeling with Stakeholders. In press.

Malek, Ž. & Boerboom, L. (2015). Participatory Scenario Development to Address Potential Impacts of Land Use Change: An Example from the Italian Alps. Mountain Research and Development, 35(2), 126–138. DOI: 10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-14-00082.1

Malek, Ž., Boerboom, L. & Glade, T. (2015). Future Forest Cover Change Scenarios with Implications for Landslide Risk: An Example from Buzau Subcarpathians, Romania. Environmental Management, 56(5), 1228–1243. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-015-0577-y

Malek, Ž., Scolobig, A. & Schröter, D. (2014). Understanding Land Cover Changes in the Italian Alps and Romanian Carpathians Combining Remote Sensing and Stakeholder Interviews. Land 3(1), 52–73. DOI: 10.3390/land3010052

Malek, Ž., Zumpano, V., Schröter, D., Glade, T., Balteanu, D. & Micu, M. (2015). Scenarios of land cover change and landslide susceptibility: an example from the Buzau Subcarpathians, Romania. In Lollino, G., Manconi, A., Guzzetti, F., Culshaw, M., Bobrowsky, P. & Luino, F. (eds), Engineering Geology for Society and Territory – Volume 5: Urban Geology, Sustainable Planning and Landscape Exploitation (pp 743-746). Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-09048-1_144

Ancillary activities

No ancillary activities
Last changes Ancillary activities: Amsterdam 27 januari 2017