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Michael Ruggeri joins the PLUS Change project to represent early career researches and young practitioners.

With a background in environmental sciences, agriculture and rural development, I have developed a strong interest and expertise at the interface of land use dynamics, socio-economic systems, and biodiversity conservation. I had the opportunity to work with famers in South East Asia at the forest-agriculture frontier, to identify transformative model to transition towards sustainable farming.  

My experience includes exploring and experimenting with scenario-building, focusing on land use changes to identify pathways towards desirable futures. 

I am now working in similar fields but with a focus on nature-based solutions as an option to achieve multiple objectives. 

What community or organisation are you representing in the project?

Young professionals and early career researchers have often face limited opportunities in discussions about land use dynamics and/or identification of potential pathways that could reverse land degradation, preserve biodiversity, and meet climate objectives.  

What motivated you to apply to become an ambassador?

I am particularly drawn to the dimensions PLUS Change is analysing and, in particular, the forward-looking stance – how can we get where we want to be by giving different groups the chance to bring in their views, expertise and ideas? This “future-driven” and participatory approach makes it a particularly thought-provoking exercise.  

How does your work correspond with PLUS Change?

In my current job and as an active member of conservation-focused volunteer organisations, I have been responsible for guiding the identification of best practices that could inform scenarios building or visioning exercises for sustainable futures, with different levels of ambition. I intend to leverage the knowledge gained in these contexts to inform my work as an ambassador while being receptive to ideas from other practitioners in the PLUS Change community.   

What are you looking forward to in the coming years?

I am keen to understand how different social groups, from various countries and backgrounds, envisage future land use patterns and strategies compatible with UNFCCC and UN CBD objectives. I also look forward to channelling ideas from the groups I represent into some of PLUS Change’s knowledge products and work, broadly speaking.