Nature-Based Solutions for Global Environmental Challenges and SDG nexus research 

Nature-based Solutions (NBS) are reframing discussion and policy responses worldwide to environmental challenges. Thus, NBS is of growing implementation, supported namely by the EU political agenda (e.g., green deal), as a way to attain the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and to reinforce the New Urban Agenda. The NBS concept recognise the importance of nature and outline requirements for a systemic and holistic approach to environmental change, based on an understanding of the structure and functioning of ecosystems, and the social and institutional context within which they are situated. Furthermore, there is a growing recognition that human activities exert pressure on natural resources affecting the ecosystem dynamics and therefore the nexus (synergies and trade-offs) between their different functions and services. However, quantification of existing NBS’ effectiveness, their operationalisation and replication in different environmental settings has not been presented in such a way that allows them to be both widely accepted and incorporated in policy development and in practical implementation to achieve the UN SDGs.
This session aims to discuss and advance knowledge of innovative NBS approaches to face environmental challenges, such as water supply and management, agricultural production and healthy ecosystems, and simultaneously provide better understanding of associated social-ecological interactions, contributing to enhance the scientific basis for sustainable development and resilience.
This session seeks to:
- Better understanding of advantages and disadvantages of NBS to address global environmental and societal challenges;
- Studies on adaptation and mitigation options for the effect of climate change on water provisioning and livelihoods;
- New methods and tools to investigate the role of NBS in the context of environmental change; in particular, the effectiveness of NBS for hydro-meteorological risk reduction at landscape/watershed scale;
- New insights, methodologies, tools and best practices enabling successful implementation and upscaling of NBS in multiple contexts;
- Identifying opportunities for and barriers to NBS within current regulatory frameworks and management practices;
- Presenting overviews and case studies of NBS projects that also involve the private sector and market-based mechanisms;
- NBS towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Co-organized by BG1/CL3.2/NH1/SSS12
Convener: Zahra Kalantari | Co-conveners: Carla FerreiraECSECS, Haozhi PanECSECS, Suzanne JacobsECSECS, Alicia CorreaECSECS, Paulo Pereira
vPICO presentations
| Tue, 27 Apr, 09:00–12:30 (CEST)

Session assets

Session materials

vPICO presentations: Tue, 27 Apr

Haozhi Pan, Jessica Page, Zahra Kalantari, and Stephan Barthel

Nature-based solutions (NBS) can be used in improving and protecting ecosystem services (ES), in order to address urban challenges. However, current urban planning approaches have not efficiently integrated NBS into planning to better manage urban land use. This paper examines the interactions between human and natural systems resulting in urban ES and land use and cover change (LUCC) and presents a social-ecological model for LUCC and ES that can help introduce NBS in urban planning. In the model, spatial variations in ES are treated as both drivers and consequences of human decision-making in commercial and residential location choices that drive LUCC. Stockholm County, Sweden, is used as a case study, with a social-ecological LUCC model on 30x30m grid. The results show that ES accessibility drives urban residential and commercial development, with the presence of non-linearity. Areas around existing urban centers show high ES accessibility and high development probabilities, while smaller population centers in large areas enjoy high ES accessibility and low urban development probabilities. Based on the model results, we propose place-specific NBS strategies to deal with the heterogeneous spatial relationship between ES and urban development probabilities.

How to cite: Pan, H., Page, J., Kalantari, Z., and Barthel, S.: Promoting strategic Nature-based Solutions (NBS) by understanding ecosystem services as a driving factor for urban growth, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-1563,, 2021.

Luis Valença Pinto, Carla Sofia Ferreira, and Paulo Pereira

Urban green spaces (UGS) are considered by the United Nations a fundamental component to achieve some of the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs), namely good health and wellbeing (Goal 3) and sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11). Urban parks, a type of UGS, provide a large and diverse number of regulating, provisioning, and cultural Ecosystem Services (ES), particularly relevant to face emerging challenges driven by increasing population and climate change. Furthermore, the cultural ecosystem services (CES) provided by urban parks can have a positive impact on human health and wellbeing. This study aims to identify the most relevant environmental and socio-demographic factors influencing the use of different urban parks in the city of Coimbra, Portugal. Five parks with different biophysical characteristics (e.g. park size, location within the city, tree coverage, available sport and social facilities) were selected for the study. Data were collected through personal interviews which took place in August 2020, performed on working days and weekend days. The activity performed by respondents was recorded, as well as its relevance for the user (in a 5-point Likert scale) and the associated perceived value of its benefits, regarding physical and emotional wellbeing and social interactions. Several motivation options were assessed, as well as the user perception of a set of possible disservices. Socio-demographic data were collected, including age, gender, education level, average monthly income, visitation frequency, mean of transportation to the park, and distance traveled to reach the park. Activities performed by respondents were aggregated into three groups of cultural ecosystem services: Physical interactions, Aesthetical and experiential interactions, and Social interactions. The results showed that physical interactions (e.g. walking, running, biking) dominate CES use identified in all the parks. A factor analysis was performed to investigate the association between the different variables. Perceived physical and emotional wellbeing benefits were always associated with the relevance of the activity attributed by the users, which is common to all the parks. Differences between parks emerge regarding both socio-demographic and motivation variables. Tranquility of space and landscape beauty form detached groups of variables in three of the five parks, with two of them with similar size and including the presence of a water element. Age group, average monthly income, and frequency of visits tend to be associated in three of the parks. Such is also the case of transport type and distance to park, which form clear groups in two of the parks. As for perceived disservices, no relevant limitations were considered by the users, with plagues (e.g. mosquitoes) and dangerous animals being the only ones registering average concerns (the latter associated with dogs without a leash). Findings can help UGS managers to better understand users’ needs and expectations, with potentially positive implications for UGS design and management.

How to cite: Valença Pinto, L., Ferreira, C. S., and Pereira, P.: Environmental and socio-economic factors influencing the use of urban parks in Coimbra (Portugal), EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-1042,, 2021.

Itxaso Ruiz, João Pompeu, and María José Sanz

Rural areas of the Mediterranean watersheds face great environmental challenges, where climate change impacts the water cycle, the soil, and biodiversity, which are often priority issues for adaptation. These, have been aggravated by historical land management practices trends. In this context, we propose Nature Based Solutions (NBS) in the form of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) actions at the watershed scale to achieve climate change adaptation and mitigation while promoting other ecosystem services.

SLM actions are local adaptation practices that promote sustainable rural development. Thus, we seek the combination of several actions to achieve regional (watershed scale) more integrated approaches. With this study, we aim at proving that NBS, and thus SLM, is a successful tool for alleviating climate change impacts (i.e. water scarcity, enhanced erosion, biodiversity decline) while promoting the role of land in mitigation and enhancing biodiversity in the rural Mediterranean areas.

For this, we propose a novel conceptualization of SLM actions that moves from their local application and evaluation to the regional more systemic approaches through their combination. Results show synergies in the atmosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere, allow for the upscaling of SLM through systemic approaches and point at direct contributions to several Sustainable Development Goals.

How to cite: Ruiz, I., Pompeu, J., and Sanz, M. J.: Nature-Based Solutions to face climate change adaptation and mitigation in Mediterranean watersheds, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2035,, 2021.

Jerzy Lipiec and Boguslaw Usowicz

Research indicates that spatial differentiation of crop yields and soil properties are largely influenced by agricultural practices and the nature of the soil itself. The aim of this study was to examine the spatial relationship between cereal (wheat and oats ) yields and soil properties related to the application of soil-improving cropping systems (SICS). Four-year experiment (2017-2020) was carried out on low productive sandy soil with application of following SICS: S1 – control; S2 – liming; S3 – green manure/cover crops including lupine, phacelia, serradella; S4 – manure and S5 – manure, liming and cover crops together. Effect of the SICS was evaluated using classical statistics, Bland-Altman analysis and geostatistical methods. Mathematical functions, fitted to the experimental cross- and semivariograms were used for mapping the yields (grain and straw) by ordinary cokriging. The grain yields in years with normal rainfall increased by 2% for S2, 10% for S3, 46% for S4, 47% for S5 compared to control (S1) 2789 kg/ha and in dry years were lower (respectively for S2-S5 by 16.3, 10.6, 2.8, 9.9% compared to control 1567 kg/ha. The range of spatial dependence for the yields in direct semi-variograms varied was 50–100 m and > 100 m in cross-semivariograms using textural fractions as secondary variables. The spatial relationships were stronger between yield and soil texture and properties were much stronger with texture and cation exchange capacity than with pH and organic carbon content. Using cokriging for interpolation (mapping) allowed the delineation of zones of lower and higher cereal yields including areas of the SICS application. Higher cereal yield and lower spatial variability in the areas of SICS compared to control soil were observed in the years with normal rainfall. Analysis of the Bland-Altman including limits of agreement enabled to quantify the effect of particular SICS on cereal yield vs. control reference. Different effect of particular SICS on the cereal yield was observed in the years with scarce and good rainfall amount and distribution during growing season. The greatest variation of the cereal yield was observed in manure amended soil (S4) and it was lower and similar in the areas of remaining SICS (S2-S5). The results will help to to select most effective SICS for localized improving crop productivity and adaptation to global warming.

Acknowledgements.The study was funded by HORIZON 2020, European Commission, Programme H2020-SFS-2015-2: SoilCare for profitable and sustainable crop production in Europe, project No. 677407 (SoilCare, 2016-2021).

How to cite: Lipiec, J. and Usowicz, B.: Spatial distribution of cereal yields related to the application of soil-improving cropping systems (SICS), EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2109,, 2021.

Miguel Inácio, Donalda Karnauskaitė, Katažyna Mikša, Marius Kalinauskas, Eduardo Gomes, and Paulo Pereira

Coastal flooding has been historically mitigated through engineered artificial (grey) infrastructures such as breakwaters, dikes, and sea walls. However, these structures have a pervasive long-term impact on coastal ecosystems (e.g. sediment transport disruption), and require constant maintenance, and have little resilience to climate change (e.g. hurricanes, sea-level rise) related events.  Grey infrastructures failed to mitigate the effects of coastal floods, and the damages were significantly less in areas where healthy coastal ecosystems were present. This highlighted the role and contribution of coastal habitats to mitigate coastal floods and adapt to new conditions. The inefficiency of grey infrastructure to mitigate the impact of extreme events and following ecosystem-based management led to the development of the Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) concept. In the context of coastal flooding mitigation, to reduce the effects of storm surges, wave action, and erosion, NSB can be designed using (1) natural solutions (e.g., the creation of marine protected areas), (2) soft engineering and ecological restoration practices (e.g., mangrove plantation), and (3) hybrid solutions, which integrates natural and grey infrastructures (e.g. artificial reefs). NBS integrate multiple international environmental agendas, for their capacity to provide multiple co-benefits (e.g. recreation, fisheries). NBS are also key for supporting other agendas and global objectives: the Sustainable Development Goals (e.g. SDG14), Green/Blue economy, coastal resilient and climate-adapted coastal communities, biodiversity targets of the Convention for Biological Diversity and Circular Economy.


“Lithuanian National Ecosystem Services Assessment and Mapping (LINESAM)” No. 09.3.3-LMT-K-712-01-0104 is funded by the European Social Fund according to the activity “Improvement of researchers’ qualification by implementing world-class R&D projects” of Measure No. 09.3.3-LMT-K-712.

How to cite: Inácio, M., Karnauskaitė, D., Mikša, K., Kalinauskas, M., Gomes, E., and Pereira, P.: The socio-ecologic aspects of nature-based solutions for coastal flooding mitigation, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3124,, 2021.

Sana Javaid, Kameswara Yashaswini Sista, and Stephan Pauleit

Indians cities are facing incessant urbanization with lack of adequate green spaces exposing inhabitants to heat stress and increased mortality. Reduction of heat stress or optimization of outdoor thermal comfort (OTC) has been recognized as one of the multiple benefits of urban green infrastructure across different climatic zones. However, there is dearth of such studies in humid-subtropical (Cwa) context, especially India. ‘Urban trees’ are most preferred vegetation type concerning OTC, whereas, ‘parks, streets and gardens’ are most preferred urban green settings in a residential neighbourhood, as indicated by social survey results of another part of this study. But role of urban trees in enhancing OTC in different urban settings remains underexplored. In particular, it needs to be better understood how different morphological characteristics of trees influence their thermal benefits. Hence, we investigated nine sub-tropical tree species in these urban settings of a typical residential neighbourhood in the mid-sized, humid-subtropical city of Dehradun in north India. A sizeable world population inhabits humid-subtropical climates and almost 1/3rd of Indians reside in mid-size cities, making this study widely relevant.

We used a modelling approach enabling comparison of different trees in similar urban settings which is not possible through on-ground studies. 70 tree species were identified through field surveys and further filtered based on frequency, canopy density, morphology and growth habit. Finally, nine species were selected, three for each urban setting and modelled using Albero, a plugin of the 3D microclimatic simulation software, ENVI-met. Parameters such as tree height, trunk height, canopy shape and density, leaf area density, root spread and diameter etc. were considered for tree modelling. Modelling was validated using the field measurements and indicated a high correlation of 90%. Total nine scenarios were created using ENVI-met for each tree species in the respective urban setting maintaining canopy cover area. Their performance was evaluated by air temperature, relative humidity and mean radiant temperature at 15:00 and 19:00 hours of a peak summer day (2nd July 2019). Thermal comfort was also evaluated using PET (Physiologically Equivalent Temperature) between 9:00-20:00 hours. 

Our results indicate that Mangifera Indica, Azadirachta Indica and Alstonia Scholaris perform best on an average for all parameters in gardens, park and streets respectively. These three trees had dense canopy i.e. high leaf area density (LAD) values and an average tree height between 11-15m. It should be noted that we did not have trees bigger than 15m on our site so results need to be further verified for taller trees. It can, however, be inferred that LAD value and tree height influenced cooling benefits more than trunk height or canopy shape in all urban settings. These results will be used to explore most suitable plantation arrangement in these urban settings. We acknowledge limitation of tree modelling using a software, however, forthcoming ENVI-Met 2021 release will enable detailed tree modelling and further improvise the study. Our results can be used in green space planning in humid subtropical climatic zones with similar urban settings or for further exploration of role of urban tree species. 

How to cite: Javaid, S., Sista, K. Y., and Pauleit, S.: Impact of different sub-tropical trees on outdoor thermal comfort in an Indian city – A microclimatic modelling approach, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3530,, 2021.

Marta Vicarelli and Nidhi Nagabhatla

This study investigates using a survey how disciplinary scholars perceive Nature Based Solutions (NBS) and how they differ in their NBS implementation approach at the local level. Respondents participated in the 2020-2021 , a ten-week course (online from Dec. 3, 2020, to Jan. 26, 2021) with a focus on Disaster Risk Reduction and Water Security. Supported by the United Nations Environmental Program and the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR), a global alliance of UN agencies, NGOs, and institutes, the Winter School Program is delivered via a partnership model between the University of Massachusetts Amherst's School of Public Policy and Department of Economics, McMaster University, and the United Nations University. Aiming to build young professionals' capacity on NBS framing and application potential, the Program focuses on the delivery of conceptual and empirical information on ecosystem-based climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction. The Program represents a knowledge hub and an opportunity to network with scholars, international experts, and practitioners. 40 graduate students from numerous disciplines (e.g. economics, public policy, international affairs, geosciences, engineering, chemistry and physics) have been selected to attend the Program and have participated in a survey to assess how disciplinary scholars perceive NBS and to explore differences in strategies and priorities while implementing NBS within communities. The results of the survey offer lessons about opportunities and possible challenges of interdisciplinary collaborations when implementing NBS.

How to cite: Vicarelli, M. and Nagabhatla, N.: Differences in Nature Based Solutions perception and implementation strategies across academic disciplines, an empirical analysis, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3767,, 2021.

Marijana Kapovic Solomun, Carla Ferreira, Ratko Ristić, Zahra Kalantari, and Omid Rahmati

The southern Europe has been recognized as a “hot spot” of ongoing climate change in Europe, being particularly vulnerable to natural disasters in the recent decade. Southern Europe suffers from frequent and disastrous floods, drought and wildfires which foster land degradation while certainly threatening ecosystems in a changing climate. Measures for ecosystem restoration and climate change mitigation are of utmost importance particularly for agricultural and forestry ecosystems. The urgent action to combat climate change impacts calls for measures e.g. by implementing nature-based solutions (NBS) in key sectors to achieve ecosystem restoration and land degradation neutrality, and thus assure relevant ecosystem services to society and human wellbeing. Various approaches can be used to apply NBS, in different fields but practical implementation of NBS needs participatory involvement, institutional and human resources capacity building, requiring local communities and vulnerable groups inclusion. Ecosystem restoration and climate change mitigation achieved by multiple functions of NBS also contribute to the implementation of UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and Land Degradation Neutrality targets, and lead to enhanced development of circular economy. This research investigates NBS as an opportunity for ecosystem restoration in southern Europe, aiming to provide a comprehensive overview of main obstacles and opportunities for the regional specific conditions.

Key words: ecosystem restoration, southern Europe, climate change, land degradation

How to cite: Kapovic Solomun, M., Ferreira, C., Ristić, R., Kalantari, Z., and Rahmati, O.: Nature Based Solutions for Ecosystem Restoration in Southern Europe, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3908,, 2021.

Udo Nehren and Teresa Arce Mojica

Landslides claim many lives and cause high financial losses in mountainous regions around the world every year. Especially in high mountain regions, the landslide risk is likely to increase further in the coming years due to the thawing of permafrost soils and the associated activation of slope dynamics. However, a higher landslide risk is also expected regionally in tropical and subtropical mountainous regions, namely where an increase in extreme weather events is projected and at the same time, there is a higher socio-ecological vulnerability and exposure due to population growth, land use pressure and other factors.

To mitigate the risk to people and their assets, various hard and soft infrastructure measures are available. Especially in the European Alps, the concept of protection forests (German: Schutzwälder) in combination with hard infrastructure has been used for years as an ecosystem-based or hybrid measure. Based on a systematic global literature review (275 papers), we investigated which Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to mitigate the risk of shallow landslides are in place worldwide, in which countries and regions they were implemented, and which approaches under the NbS umbrella concept were applied (e.g. Green Infrastructure, Ecological Engineering, Eco-DRR, etc.). 

As a result of this comprehensive analysis, we present a portfolio of measures to mitigate the risk of shallow landslides that are being applied in various (eco)regions and cultural contexts around the world and discuss the success of these measures as well as potential risks, uncertainties, and failures. We also emphasize the need for further research particularly on the effectiveness of ecosystem-based landslide risk reduction in different mountain ecosystems, as well as the cost-effectiveness of NbS compared to hard infrastructure. We conclude that despite a successful implementation in the Alps and few other mountain regions, the protection forest concept has hardly been applied so far, especially in the Global South. In addition, we emphasize the particular challenge of establishing protection forests due to the rapid climatic and ecological changes and related geomorphological process dynamics in mountain regions in the course of global climate change.

How to cite: Nehren, U. and Arce Mojica, T.: Nature-based solutions to mitigate the risk of shallow landslides: a global analysis, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-5586,, 2021.

Snežana Štrbac, Milica Kašanin-Grubin, Gorica Veselinović, Gordana Gajica, Sanja Stojadinović, Aleksandra Šajnović, and Duška Dimović

Human activities have changed ecosystems and today ≈ 60% of the world’s ecosystems are already degraded. These changes have caused growing environmental costs, including biodiversity loss and land degradation, which in turn has resulted in many economic, social and cultural losses. Protected areas (PAs) are the key tool in biodiversity conservation, moreover they may help to maintain water supplies and food security, strengthen climate resilience and improve human health and well-being. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defined PA as „a clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated, and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services (ES) and cultural values”. Such areas represent Earth systems in which influence of human interactions with preserved ecosystems are readily evident. The coverage of PA is a widely used indicator of sustainable development, because the loss of biodiversity is recognized as one of the most serious global environmental threats. The “Big Five” threats to global biodiversity are fragmentation, habitat loss, overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, and the spread of invasive alien species. New interventions for governing nature are captured by the umbrella of nature-based solutions (NBS) in the European Union (EU) policy context. NBS can offer accessible, sustainable, and feasible benefits via a range of areas affecting public health and social well-being. According to IUCN NBS are defined as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits”. NBS address these societal challenges over the delivery of ES. The main objective of this study is to use the effect of NBS to enhance the sustainability of management of the PAs that would have environmental, social and economic benefits. The methodology includes determination of heavy metals in soils and needles of Picea alba, and quantification and qualification of PAs benefits based on Protected Areas Benefits Assessment Tool + (PA-BAT+) in six sites: Zlatibor, Golija, Tara, Đerdap, Stara planina, and Fruška gora. Zlatibor, Golija, and Stara planina are protected as a Nature Park – protected areas of international, national, i.e., exceptional importance Category I (first) in accordance with the Law on Nature Protection ("Off. Gazette of RS", No. 36/2009, 88/2010 , 91/2010 and 14/2016). By the decision of the UNESCO commission within the MAB program in 2001, Golija was declared as Biosphere Reserve ”Golija - Studenica”. Tara, Đerdap, and Fruška gora are protected as National Parks – protected area of international, national, i.e., exceptional importance Category I (first) in accordance with the Law on National Parks ("Off. Gazette of RS", No. 39/1993, 44/1993-correction, 53/1993, 67/1993, 48/1994, 101/2005 and 36/2009). According to categorization of the IUCN Zlatibor, Golija, and Stara planina are classified in Category V, while Tara, Đerdap, and Fruška gora are classified in Category II. Based on heavy metals content in soils and needles, different interventions in managed ecosystems are proposed.

How to cite: Štrbac, S., Kašanin-Grubin, M., Veselinović, G., Gajica, G., Stojadinović, S., Šajnović, A., and Dimović, D.: Implementation and upscaling of nature-based solution in protected areas and pathways to providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6487,, 2021.

Marta Vicarelli, Karen Sudmeier-Rieux, Dhiroj Koirala, and Sanjay Devkota

This article describes research undertaken in the Panchase Region of Western Nepal as part of the “Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure and Communities” (EPIC) project 2012-2017, where three community-led bio-engineering demonstration sites were established along roadsides.  The topic of Nature Based Solutions (NBS) and Eco-DRR/CCA is explored adopting interdisciplinary research methods, spanning both social and physical sciences, and citizen science alongside state-of-the art high resolution erosion monitoring and remote sensing. We examine the nexus between infrastructure design (traditional roads vs green roads) and landslides. Investigations included a watershed study of land use changes over time and erosion rates associated with road construction in the Phewa Lake Watershed (Kaski district, Western Nepal), an analysis of the effectiveness of vegetation in reducing erosion rates using LIDAR and drone measurements, and a cost-benefit analysis of conventional “grey” versus bio-engineered roads, or “eco-safe roads”.

Results of the watershed study indicate a trend from erosion due to open grazing thirty years ago to increased erosion by new roads; Land IDAR measurements show that vegetation has been effective in reducing erosion rates. The cost benefit analysis (CBA) explores the net benefit of grey vs eco-safe roads using different time horizons and precipitation distributions associated to monsoonal activity and climate change trends. The CBA results demonstrate that initial costs in installing the bio-engineered eco-safe road are higher than for the “grey” road, however the bio-engineered road rapidly becomes more cost-effective, especially when factoring in avoided damages and multiple co-benefits to the population. Findings from this work have led to policy recommendations promoting and upscaling a more sustainable approach to bio-engineering for rural road construction in Nepal as well as methodological recommendations for replicating and up-scaling similar studies elsewhere.

How to cite: Vicarelli, M., Sudmeier-Rieux, K., Koirala, D., and Devkota, S.: Nature Based Solutions applied to road infrastructure in Nepal, a vehicle for development., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6973,, 2021.

Pierre-Antoine Versini, Daniel Schertzer, and Mathilde Loury

Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) appear as some relevant alternatives to mitigate the consequences of climate change. For this reason, they are promoted for the implementation of the national plan for adaptation to climate change (PNACC) in France, in line with the Paris Agreement, the strategy of the European Union for adaptation to climate change and the French national strategy for biodiversity.

Nevertheless, this ambitious goal of democratizing NBS poses some institutional and technical challenges because many obstacles remain to their implementation. Overcoming these shortcomings is the objective of the LIFE integrated project called ARTISAN (Achieving Resiliency by Triggering Implementation of nature-based Solutions for climate Adaptation at a National scale). Coordinated by the French Biodiversity Office (OFB), its consortium regroups several local authorities, technical, research and education institutes.

For this purpose, ARTISAN is creating a framework promoting the implementation of NBS by improving scientific and technical knowledge about them, then by developing and disseminating relevant tools for project leaders (for the design, sizing, implementation and evaluation of ecosystem performance).

To demonstrate that NBS can respond to a diversity of climatic, ecological and institutional contexts, 10 pilot sites will be monitored in metropolitan and overseas France. The concerned issues are for example the reduction of urban heat island by the de-waterproofing of the public space, the limitation of the impact of cyclonic episodes on the urbanized coastline overseas by promoting the restoration of the mangrove, and the decrease of agricultural water stress during the low flow period by the hydromorphological restoration of wetlands. These pilot sites will serve to develop, improve and validate operational tools, methods and trainings devoted to practitioners.

How to cite: Versini, P.-A., Schertzer, D., and Loury, M.: Promote Nature-Based Solutions to adapt the environment to climate change – The LIFE ARTISAN project, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7103,, 2021.

Xana Alvarez, Paula Rivas, Carolina Acuña-Alonso, and Enrique Valero

One of the main goals of the EU political agenda, supported by the green agenda, and one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services. Within these ecosystems is the riparian vegetation, an essential element in river ecosystems that influences the processes related to the surface and underground flow, modifying the temperature and humidity, it also functions as a filtering tool for the water. The riparian vegetation has been degraded as a cause of changes in land use, or the increase in population. In order to guarantee the biodiversity of ecosystems, as well as guarantee water security, it is necessary to explore environmental governance solutions. In this sense, new technologies can be useful tools that facilitate their characterization. For this reason, the feasibility of using satellite images has been evaluated to characterize the degradation of the riparian vegetation, facilitating decision-making by the administration. In this way, the improvement of riparian vegetation can be promoted, as a nature-based solution (NBs) with multiple environmental, social and economic benefits. Nowadays, there are multiples indices for determining the quality of riparian vegetation but all of them involve a high time, technical and economic effort. The implementation of solutions based on satellite images will improve and facilitate these actions. For this purpose, the images from the WorldView 2 satellite were analysed. The treating these images through geographic information systems, a scale is obtained that adapts to existing indices. With these new methods it would no longer be necessary to visit all the sample points, thus reducing the time to obtain results. The verification of the data obtained through the mapping of images (Riparian Strip Quality Index) was compared with data taken in the field (QBR index), obtaining a value of 92% of truthfulness, and a Kappa coefficient of 0.88 (very good). In other words, a methodology with high concordance with the data collected in situ was obtained. The application of this index through satellite images will facilitate the environmental governance of multiple ecosystems. Providing tools to implement best practices allowing an improvement of the NBs. In this way, biodiversity will be improved, and water quality will be improved, guaranteeing or improving water security, contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.

How to cite: Alvarez, X., Rivas, P., Acuña-Alonso, C., and Valero, E.: Evaluation and analysis of riparian vegetation through satellite images, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7306,, 2021.

Mario Al Sayah, Pierre-Antoine Versini, and Daniel Schertzer

The challenges imposed by climate change and urbanization require a paradigm yet holistic shift that considers the trade-off between ecosystemic conservation, social needs and economic growth. By concomitantly providing socioeconomic and environmental benefits, Nature Based Solutions (NBS) according to the European Commission (EC) present viable, resource-efficient and adaptable tools for ensuring the above-mentioned transition. Accordingly, NBS are high on European and French priority agendas, and are believed to be the way forward. The abundant scientific literature on NBS solidifies their potential through the various advantages they present. Evidently, NBS are win-win resolutions to environmental challenges (climate change, natural risks, food and water security), they support greener economies, conserve biodiversity, promote sustainability, support adaptive capacities, and reduce natural/socioeconomic sensitivities. In spite of their potential, NBS are faced by many obstacles. Conceptual obstacles include contested definitions of NBS, reduced reporting on uncertainties, and overlaps with sister notions that make the NBS concept somewhat vague. Systemic challenges include governance barriers, public willingness to adopt NBS and stakeholder participation (acceptance, perspectives and engagement). Implementation challenges encompass limited funds or budgets, difficulties of upscaling what works and maintaining-monitoring progress. Accounting for the above-mentioned elements, this study will use France as a micro scale and the European continent as a macro scale, to provide a local and regional inventory of NBS’ potential and limits. First, an in-depth bibliographic analysis and text mining techniques are carried out for providing detailed science-based evidence on the performance of NBS. For the national scale, peer-reviewed literature from the Scopus database and official UN bodies or international organizations reports are used. For the European scale, deliverables of several Horizon 2020 projects serve the purpose. Subsequently, an analysis of stakeholder profiles, categories, and participation for mapping NBS actors in both contexts will follow. By combining theoretical investigations and stakeholder analysis, a holistic representation of the NBS framework is ensured. The logic behind this approach is to draw up scientific and technical evidence on NBS to mainstream their integration into development projects. Accordingly, the objective of this research work falls under one of the several actions of the Life ARTISAN project, action A1: reporting on obstacles and levers for Nature Based Adaptation Solutions. Under this scope, the project ARTISAN standing for “Achieving Resiliency by Triggering Implementation of nature-based Solutions for climate Adaptation at a National scale” aims to achieve the plans set in France’s second national climate change adaptation plan by leveraging NBS. Beyond the national scale, by capitalizing on past experiences and grouping dispersed findings, this study will provide deeper insights on NBS, and will allow a prioritization of research and knowledge building needs.

How to cite: Al Sayah, M., Versini, P.-A., and Schertzer, D.: Nature Based Solutions:  Reporting and analyzing insights from Europe, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8902,, 2021.

Francesca Ciampa

Urbanization and climate change affect the balance of coastal ecosystems, determining impacts on social, economic and environmental dimensions of their waterfronts. Coastal cities use the criticalities deriving by flood phenomena as an opportunity to renew the models for mitigating environmental impacts. Italian coastal cities are examples of waterfronts widely impacted by floods, such as Venice. These waterfronts are characterized by consolidated ecosystems with a dominant identity, thus reinterpreting their flooding mitigation models can be useful in addressing the risk of flood disasters. This paper presents and discusses the flood mitigation strategy implemented in Venice, based on transforming and integrating advanced technology with nature-based solutions, as well as requirements and community needs. The advantages and limitations for protecting local communities and the environment with this aproach, its cost-effectiveness and its contribution to enhance resilience are also discussed.
Venice integrates an anti-flooding technological solution called Electromechanical experimental module (MOSE), with its historical lagoon ecosystem, as part of the UNESCO Management Plan "Venice and its Lagoon''. MOSE is a system of independent mobile sluice gates, hinged at the bottom and actuated by the floating variation integrated with nature-based coastal reinforcement practices based on environmental elements in complementary operation with the technological solution. The natural and morphological restoration of the lagoon, in fact, represents the first part of an integrated plan for the protection and sanitation of the coastal habitat. This solution indicates the ways in which the needs expressed by the inhabitants can affect the solutions already implemented in place by the technicians and the administration, determining new criteria and tools for mitigation factors such as tangible compatibility and intangible adaptivity.
In order to integrate a non-human (nature and technology) and human (actors) factors, the operation of the technological solution is based on an Actor-Network Theory (ANT) approach. On the one hand, the research acts in the multi-scalar horizon analyzing the actions governed by multidimensional approaches in order to strengthen coastal relational systems. On the other hand, it studies the experimental solutions, reflecting on the need to rethink the nature based solutions in a way that it integrates the socio-ecological interactions associated to vulnerable systems. An Ecosystem-Based Mitigation Model for coastal cities investigates climate mitigation solutions to support decision-making. The model includes the socio-economic and environmental requirements, deriving from the community needs examined, in order to improve the carrying capacity of an ecosystem by considering a sustainable vision. The example of Venice can be used in addressing the risk of flooding in other coastal cities.  

Keyword: nature-based solutions, coastal ecosystems, flood mitigation, anti-flooding technology.

How to cite: Ciampa, F.: An Ecosystem-Based Mitigation Model for vulnerable settlement systems: the experience of Venice (Italy) in addressing the risk of flood disasters, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9206,, 2021.

Katie Parsons and Josh Wolstenholme

To meet CO2 reduction targets, the UK aims to plant c1.5 billion trees by 2050. Gaps within thousands of miles of hedgerows across the country are potentially suitable planting sites, but the extent of gaps and suitability for replanting are currently unknown. Maximising the potential growth of hedgerows however appears to receive relatively little attention compared with wide area tree planting. Hedgerow gaps present the opportunity for tree planting, contributing towards the annual tree-planting goals and net-zero CO2 plan as part of Defra’s 25-year objectives (HM Government, 2018), without requiring extensive land change.

Our ambitions of fostering a greener society and meeting net zero goals is heavily reliant on ensuring that children and youth are engaged with environmental concerns and have the right skills and knowledge for future careers. This project has been engaging with youth organisations to enhance their environmental and digital knowledge, whilst combining their input with state-of-the-art artificial-intelligence approaches. The open dataset created with public contributions will inform planting decisions whilst educating young people and citizens. The aligned education programme will provide resources detailing how new planting will drawdown CO2, reduce flood risk and increase biodiversity availability, ultimately fostering the participants as agents of change in addressing the climate crisis. 

Citizens will be trained in hedgerow surveying techniques, with focus on both remote sensing/geographic information systems applications (GIS) and field surveying - enabling contributions from home (during COVID) as well as encouraging outdoor activity and learning. Through a series of surveys and tasks, citizens are able to utilise a smartphone device (or similar) to contribute new data into an open survey on hedgerow characteristics, simple field experimental measurements and images/videos, all whilst utilising the GPS built into the device. The objectives of the project are two-fold: first, data collected by citizens will be used to refine an existing deep learning model trained to identify hedgerow gaps from high-resolution earth observation imagery. Second, to encourage citizens to learn about and take ownership of their local environment, contributing to the fostering of a nation of climate champions.

How to cite: Parsons, K. and Wolstenholme, J.: Mapping hedgerow gaps and fostering positive environmental behaviours through a combination of citizen scientists and artificial intelligence, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9453,, 2021.

Pedro N Carvalho, David Finger, Fabio Masi, Giulia Cipolletta, Hasan Volkan Oral, Attila Tóth, Martin Regelsberger, and Alfonso Exposito

The water, energy, and food security nexus (WEF Nexus) is the interlinkage between water security, energy security, and food security. An increasing world population is projected to increase energy and food requirements, which will increase the need for freshwater drastically in the coming decades. Projected climate change impacts will aggravate water availability, especially in urban areas. Nature-based solutions (NBS) have proven to generate multiple benefits that defuse the expected merging tensions within the WEF Nexus. This paper outlines the theories, provides examples, and discusses the potential of NBS to address the future WEF Nexus. For this purpose we reviewed recent papers on the theories of WE, WF, EF, and WEF Nexus, we described and summarized 19 representative real-life case studies, and we identified the knowledge gap within the theory and the case studies. We provide quantitative potentials and qualitative benefits for NBS described in the literature over the past decades. Our review demonstrated the impressive potential of NBS to address the projected challenges within the WEF Nexus. The study concludes by recommending NBS for specific WEF Nexus challenges and highlighting the need for decision-makers to consider the implementation of NBS in urban planings.

How to cite: Carvalho, P. N., Finger, D., Masi, F., Cipolletta, G., Oral, H. V., Tóth, A., Regelsberger, M., and Exposito, A.: A review of the potential of nature-based solutions (NBS) to address the challenges of the water-energy-food nexus (WEF Nexus) in the coming decades, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9480,, 2021.

Leonor Rodrigues, Brieuc Hardy, Bruno Huyghebaert, and Jens Leifeld

To meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting average global warming to less than 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures, European Union (EU) aims to reduce by 40% its domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 and in the longer term to become the world’s first climate-neutral economy by 2050 (“Green Deal”). Today, 10% of the European GHG emissions derive directly from agriculture, and measures to decrease or compensate these emissions are required for achieving climatic goals. The role of soils in the global carbon cycle and the importance of reducing GHG emissions from agriculture has been increasingly acknowledged (IPCC, 2018, EEA report 2019). The “4 per 1000” initiative (4p1000) has become a prominent model for mitigating climate change and securing food security through an annual increase in soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks by 0.4 %, or 4‰ per year, in the first 0-40 cm of soil. However, the feasibility of the 4p1000 scenario and more generally the capacity of European countries to implement soil carbon sequestration (SCS) measures are highly uncertain.

As part of the EJP Soil project, we collected country-specific informationonon on the available knowledge and data of achievable carbon sequestration in mineral agricultural soils (cropland and grassland) across Europe, under various farming systems and pedo-climatic conditions. With this bottom-up approach, we provide a reality check on weather European countries are on track in relation to GHG reductions targets and the “4p1000” initiative. First results showed that the availability of datasets on SCS is heterogeneous across Europe. While northern Europe and central Europe is relatively well studied, references are lacking for parts of Southern, Southeaster and Western Europe. Further, this stocktake highlighted that the current country-based knowledge and engagement is still poor; very few countries have an idea on their national-wide achievable SCS potential. Nevertheless, national SCS potentials that were estimated for 13 countries support the view that SCS can contribute significantly to climate mitigation, covering from 1 to 28, 5 % of the domestic GHG emissions from the agricultural sector, which underpins the importance of further investigations.

How to cite: Rodrigues, L., Hardy, B., Huyghebaert, B., and Leifeld, J.: Potential agricultural soil carbon sequestration across Europe: a reality check, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9512,, 2021.

Cristina-Gabriela Mitincu, Ioan-Cristian iojă, Constantina-Alina Hossu, Mihai-Răzvan Niță, and Andreea Niță

The integrated approach of sustainable development refers to addressing complex challenges by combining knowledge from various environmental and planning fields. Thus, nature-based solutions (NbS) are a category of new tools that can help cities increase their resilience and sustainability. They represent those actions inspired, supported or copied from nature, which have a high potential to be energy efficient and to use natural resources, as well as promote multi-functionality and connectivity between green infrastructure and built-up areas. To achieve their purpose NbS have to be developed and managed in collaborative ways. The strategies, plans, programs, policies and projects developed at European and international level have led to the consolidation, at least from a theoretical perspective, of the significance and role of NbS in urban areas. Thus, this study aims to identify the way these documents are directed towards sustainability and innovative solutions (such as NbS), with emphasis on the collaborative approaches for NbS. Our preliminary results indicate that most of the international and European documents specify that the economic development needs to be achieved in close connection with increasing urban sustainability, based on sustainable investments such as green infrastructures or NbS. Furthermore, under the guidance of these documents, the international institutions, research experts and decision makers seek collaboration with city representatives in order to integrate the benefits generated by such sustainable investments. Among the analyzed documents, the new 2030 Urban Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, reveal the need for participatory approaches to reach consensus about sustainable development. Other important international and European documents directed towards sustainability and NbS are Urban Water Agenda 2030, New Urban Agenda – Habitat III or 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. So, NbS represent a support in the efficient use of resources in order to promote urban development in concordance with the economic growth, participatory planning and guvernance, environmental policy, social cohesion and justice, public health and quality of life, environment protection.

How to cite: Mitincu, C.-G., iojă, I.-C., Hossu, C.-A., Niță, M.-R., and Niță, A.: Collaborative aspects of nature-based solutions: strategies, plans, programs, policies, projects, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9923,, 2021.

Paolo Mazzetti and the NewLife4Drylands Consortium

According to the European Environment Agency (2008), the areas of Southern, Central and Eastern Europe showed “very high” or “high” sensitivity to desertification. One of the main drivers of desertification is climate change, affecting particularly the Mediterranean regions. Drought intensity and frequency are expected to increase with global warming in southwestern parts of Europe, whereas an opposite trend is projected for north-eastern Europe. 
Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) can represent an effective approach for the implementation of drought impact mitigation measures at local level. On one hand, increased availability of satellite imagery and constant development of analytical techniques are stepping up monitoring processes at various spatial and temporal scales. On the other hand, short-term monitoring systems can be applied immediately after the restoration implementation but it is essential to evaluate the biophysical status of the restored areas at mid-term and long terms after the implementation.

NewLife4Drylands is a LIFE Preparatory Project co-funded by the European Union under the LIFE programme. It started on January 2021 and it will end in June 2023.
NewLife4Drylands deals with the specific need set by the “Life-Environment” subprogram “Restoration of desertified land through nature-based solutions” to contrast the soil degradation leading to desertification by using NBS. NewLife4Drylands focuses on developing a protocol based on remote sensing techniques for the identification of a framework for achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN), combating desertification and for a mid and long-term monitoring of restoration interventions on desertified lands. The protocol will be an instrument for a clear, specific and costless assessment of the restoration process useful for further decision-making concerning restoration interventions. 

Six European areas (in Greece, Spain and Italy) affected by land degradation and desertification which either have NBS and restoration activities ongoing - implemented in the context of other LIFE+ or existing projects - or are candidate for restoration have been selected. 
Free high resolution time-series data from Landsat and the Copernicus Sentinel satellites at high temporal repetitiveness (every 16 or 5 days, respectively) combined with high spatial resolution (30 or up to 10 meters, respectively) will be investigated for monitoring processes at various spatial and temporal scales. The new hyperspectral satellite PRISMA data from the Italian Space Agency will be considered for information integration. The availability of ground reference data will be essential for calibration and validation of satellite imagery analysis.
NewLife4Drylands will select a set of well-known indicators, such as  spectral indices used as proxies for monitoring vegetation, water content, drought degree, primary production. Moreover SDG’s sub indicator 15.3.1 (Proportion of land that is degraded over total land area) will be implemented at local scale. 
Based on such indicators, NewLife4Drylands will define a monitoring model and a protocol able to connect NBS and remote sensing indicators which will provide a guide for the identification of specific measures of restoration of drylands to be used as a support in decision making for adaptive management of restoration actions in drylands, improving ecosystems services provision and related economic issues, including local resources to mobilize and new green jobs. 

How to cite: Mazzetti, P. and the NewLife4Drylands Consortium: NewLife4Drylands: remote sensing - oriented nature-based solutions towards a new life for drylands, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10928,, 2021.

Borjana Bogatinoska, Angelique Lansu, Judith Floor, Dave Huitema, and Stefan Dekker

The global water sector is changing and it is in need of more evidence-based responses of emerging global, regional, national and local challenges. Communities are seeking interventions which achieve multiple benefits and outcomes such as: improved quality of water bodies, reduced greenhouse emissions, reliably delivered water for human use but also some that are rather urgent like: flood-risk management. In order to take into account the environmental, technological, economic, institutional and cultural characteristics of river basins, we need to move from current management regimes towards more adaptive regimes with the use of Nature-based solutions (NbS) instead of traditional 'grey' engineering approaches. Quite a vast amount of tools have been developed throughout the years for achieving this transition. This paper identifies the challenges and opportunities that water professionals face when using these tools in the process of planning NbS. An online tailor-made approach, based on a modified nominal group technique (NGT) and Multi-criteria analysus (MCA) was developed and applied. The NGT-based assessment of these tools consists of two rounds during which participants were asked to reflect first individually, and then collectively about the prerequisites and implications of these tools in the process of planning NbS. The participants are water professionals from the European project Co-Adapt. Here we presented one approach where new scientific methods and practical tools are developed for participatory assessment and implementation of adaptive water management.

How to cite: Bogatinoska, B., Lansu, A., Floor, J., Huitema, D., and Dekker, S.: Tooling in engaging stakeholders in adaptive water management with Nature-based solutions: reflections from an online NGT approach through the perspectives of the water professionals, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11040,, 2021.

Katazyna Bogdzevic and Marius Kalinauskas

Nature-based solutions (NBS) for flood mitigation lately are becoming more and more popular. However, comparing to traditional grey infrastructure, NBS require more land, often – privately owned. This is why the question of implementation of NBS on private land needs to be addressed more thoroughly. There are different ways how to implement the NBS on private land. Those ways can be divided into "sticks", "carrots" and "sermons". The last two refer to "soft" measures, like financial incentives, payments for ecosystem services, knowledge sharing, and partnership for NBS. Whereas, "sticks" refer to coercive measures, which imply "a command-and-control strategy" and any behaviours contradicting "sticks" can be considered unlawful. In other words, "sticks" are the measures that restrict land-use or even deprive the owners of their land. Expropriation, land-use restrictions, and pre-emption rights are the best-known examples of "sticks". The land-owners have little room for manoeuvre if the state decides to apply "sticks". However, the powers of the state are also limited. One of such limitations derive from international law, to be precise – from provisions related to human rights protection. Article 1 of the Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights grants protection for the property rights and prohibits the authorities to deprive owners of their possession unless the public interest justifies it. The state can also control the use of property only if this is required by general interest. The European Court of Human Rights in its case-law for several times addressed the issue of property restrictions and expropriation due to implementation of environmental laws and land-use planning laws. The Court elaborated on such issues as the notion of "public interest", proportionality and lawfulness of measures adopted by the state. Those considerations can also be relevant for the implementation of NBS on private land. 

How to cite: Bogdzevic, K. and Kalinauskas, M.: Nature-based solutions for flood mitigation on private land – human rights perspective , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11073,, 2021.

Wei Weng, Luís Costa, Matthias Lüdeke, Delphine Zemp, Sue-Ching Jou, Fernando Jaramillo, and Mei-Yi Liu

Nature-based Solutions (NbS), inspired or supported by nature, aim to address societal challenges in a fast-changing environment via an integrated and sustainable approach. Effective implementation of such intervention certainly requires compliance with specific societal configurations in different geographies. Here two cases of NbS to hydrological disaster risks are used to demonstrate the relevance of social barriers and opportunities for the full function of NbS.

Firstly, we introduce a novel large-scale NbS designed for reducing water scarcity in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. In this case, strategic reforestation was planned to bring rainfall to a downwind city taking advantage of atmospheric moisture pathways. In the process of co-designing reforestation sites, experiences from failed reforestation projects have improved the site selection originally based solely on the scientific evidence of the moisture pathways. Social barriers to implementation include underground economic activities and pressures for local food production. The latter factor also implies a trade-off between the fulfilments of different sustainable development goals.

Secondly, a case of landscape-scale NbS that aims to mitigate flood risk from typhoons in Taiwan will be discussed. It consists of a flood diversion framework that directs excess runoff to local farmlands following Typhoon storms. The concept of payment for ecosystem services has been employed to increase the willingness of farmers and landowners to participate in this framework. Institution of compensation for agricultural loss established from previous meteorological disasters has paved the way for implementation. A combination of subsidies and agricultural loss compensation has offered an opportunity for the new intervention to take place in the rice-cropping landscape, while the effect of this ongoing framework will be further documented.

These two cases show that the inertia from existing policy/institutional schemes and the lessons from past unsuccessful experiences provide an opportunity to identify and overcome social barriers to the implementation of innovative NbS.

How to cite: Weng, W., Costa, L., Lüdeke, M., Zemp, D., Jou, S.-C., Jaramillo, F., and Liu, M.-Y.: Human in nature: two cases on social factors nested in the implementation of Nature-based Solutions, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11086,, 2021.

Máté Katona and Adrienn Horváth

Kaposvár is a developing middle-size city in the middle of South-western Hungary surrounded by mountains and forested areas. Due to its location and natural surroundings, the city strives to achieve close-to-nature urban development. Sustainable urban management, increasing green space, promoting carbon neutrality, adaptation to the challenges of climate change, reducing emissions are the main aims of the development. For support, city-wide investigations began last year to make further suggestions for future direction based on measurements and experience. A foundational survey was conducted to characterize the conditions of urban soils and urban plantations; thus, it would have a proper space in the city’s climate strategy and settlement development concept in the future. Soil properties (artefacts, pH, texture, CaCO3) and trace metal concentrations (Pb, Cu, Zn, Ni, Cr, Sn, Cd, Co) were measured as well. Compared to the actual condition of the natural environment, the soil-changing effect of the city became visible. For changed soil conditions, trees should be chosen that are well adapted to this changing environment. The city is currently afforesting its area; however, it wants to increase the number of trees planted in the future. This is especially justified in areas where there are many overgrown, old, diseased trees in its hundred-year-old parks and tree lines. Choosing the right tree species is not only an aesthetic consideration, but it can also affect the condition of the soils in the environment. We also considered the effects of heavy metals pollution on vegetation important, so we took samples from the trees leaves in many parts of the city and measured the total metal content they absorbed. To comparison, the nearby soil test points showed a correlation between leaves pollution levels in several cases. Based on the results, the heavy metal uptake capacity of the different tree species became comparable. It can be used effectively in the selection of tree species for future afforestation, so that afforestation can also play a role in soil protection and city climate maintenance in the future.

How to cite: Katona, M. and Horváth, A.: Experiences of a nature-based urban development on the example of a Hungarian city, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11162,, 2021.

Petra Hečková, Michal Sněhota, Vojtěch Bareš, and David Stránský

Due to increasing urbanization, bioretention cells are becoming an increasingly popular solution for stormwater management. The data on long term performance bioretention are still sparse. The aim of this study was to set-up two experimental bioretention cells designed for long-term monitoring and to evaluate the rainfall-runoff characteristics, assess the development of properties of the biofilter, and dynamics of plant growth during the first growing season.

Two identical experimental bioretention cells were established. The first collects water from the roof and the second is supplied from the tank for simulating artificial rainfall. The 30 cm thick biofilter soil mixture is composed of 50% sand, 30% compost, and 20% topsoil. Bioretention cells are isolated from the surrounding soil by a waterproof membrane. Both bioretention cells are instrumented by an identical system of sensors. Four time-domain reflectometry probes monitor soil water contents 20 cm below the surface. Five tensiometers record the water potential in a biofilter. The amount of a discharge from each bioretention cell is determined by a tipping bucket flowmeter. A ponding depth is recorded by an ultrasonic sensor.

Rainfall-runoff episodes were evaluated for the period from 18.6. 2018 to the 22.11.2018. 17 episodes were evaluated for bioretention cell with the inflow of stormwater from the roof. Six ponding experiments were done in the bioretention cell with an artificial supply. Rainfall depth, maximal rainfall intensity, episode duration, runoff coefficient, and maximal peak outflow rate from both bioretention cells were determined for each episode. The effective saturated hydraulic conductivity was determined using Darcy’s law under the assumption of one-dimensional, vertical flow. The estimation method was verified by simulating two-dimensional variably saturated flow using HYDRUS-2D. Outflow water quality was measured from one bioretention cell during ponding experiments.

The runoff coefficient for the entire period of the growing season was 0.72, while the peak outflow reduction for individual rainfall events ranged between 75% to 95% for the bioretention cell connected to the roof. The runoff coefficient determined from artificial ponding events was 0.86 for the event started in the partially saturated biofilter, while it was nearly 1.0 for all subsequent artificial ponding events. The peak flow reduction ranged from 19% to 30%. The saturated hydraulic conductivity of biofilter with a natural rainfall supply ranged between 1.6·10-6 to 8.6∙10-6 m·s-1, which is significantly less than hydraulic conductivity 1.3∙10-4 m·s-1 measured in the laboratory on packed samples. Perennials Aster, Hemerocallis and Molinia have shown good growth and adaptation to conditions in bioretention cells. In the case of the current experiment, the gravel mulch layer has proven to be an effective barrier to reducing evaporation. The values of total suspended solids and turbidity were highly correlated and generally high, especially at the beginning of outflow in artificial ponding experiments. The value of electrical conductivity reached up to 2200 µS·cm-1, this may be due to the higher compost content in the soil. The monitoring of bioretention cells continues in order to record long term changes in the performance of the bioretention cells.

How to cite: Hečková, P., Sněhota, M., Bareš, V., and Stránský, D.: Performance of two small experimental bioretention cells during the first year of operation, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11172,, 2021.

Armando Molina, Veerle Vanacker, Miluska Rosas-Barturen, Boris Ochoa-Tocachi, Vivien Bonnesoeur, Francisco Román-Dañobeytia, and Wouter Buytaert

The Andes region is prone to soil erosion because of its steep topographic relief, high spatio-temporal variability in precipitation and heterogeneity in lithological strength. Soil erosion by water is affecting natural and anthropogenic environments through its impacts on water quality and availability, loss of soil nutrients, flood risk, sedimentation in rivers and streams, and damage to civil infrastructure. Sustainable land and water management, referred here as natural infrastructure interventions, aims to avoid, reduce and reverse soil erosion and can provide multiple benefits for the environment, population and livelihoods. In this study, we present a systematic review of peer-reviewed and grey literature involving more than 120 local case-studies from the Andes. Three major categories of natural infrastructure interventions were considered: protective vegetation, soil and water conservation measures, and adaptation measures that regulate the flow and transport of water. The analysis was designed to answer the following research questions: (1) Which soil erosion indicators allow us to assess the effectiveness of natural infrastructure interventions across the Andean range? (2) What is the overall impact of implementing natural infrastructure interventions for on-site and off-site erosion mitigation?

The systematic review shows that the effectiveness of protective vegetation on soil erosion mitigation is the most commonly studied characteristic, accounting for more than half of the empirical studies. From the suite of physical, chemical and biological indicators that were commonly used in soil erosion research, our review identified two indicators to be particularly suitable for the analyses of the effectiveness of natural infrastructure interventions: soil organic carbon (SOC) of the topsoil, and soil loss rates at plot scale. The implementation of soil and water conservation measures in areas under traditional agriculture had positive effects on SOC (1.28 to 1.29 times higher SOC than in agricultural land). Soil loss rates were 54% lower when implementing SWC than on cropland. When implementing SWC in rangeland, the data indicated an increase in soil loss rate by 1.54 times. Untreated degraded land is reported to have significantly higher soil loss and specific sediment yield compared to cropland.

The results of this systematic review allows to assess the overall effectiveness of commonly used natural infrastructure interventions, which can guide policy and decision making in the Andes. Similarly, the review identified critical gaps in knowledge that must be attended by more comprehensive research to consider the high spatiotemporal variability of the Andes region.

How to cite: Molina, A., Vanacker, V., Rosas-Barturen, M., Ochoa-Tocachi, B., Bonnesoeur, V., Román-Dañobeytia, F., and Buytaert, W.: Natural infrastructure interventions and their effect on soil erosion mitigation in the Andes, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11975,, 2021.

Pál Balázs, Imre Berki, and Adrienn Horváth

The main negative global phenomena are climate change, biodiversity loss and biological invasions. Attaining the 2050 climate neutrality target is of great importance in agriculture and forestry. Land use is a significant factor in carbon sequestration from the atmosphere (carbon sink) and can be employed to potentially store carbon for decades. Land use can also contribute to climate change adaptation against aridification, preserve biodiversity, and reduce CO2 and NOx emissions. In addition, growing global environmental problems impact the entire world, which compels society to live with changed circumstances. Nevertheless, negative processes do not affect all territories equally. Some areas are more vulnerable and sensitive to changes, while others are more flexible and demonstrate higher resilience against negative changes. Nature compensates negative global environmental phenomena and people can contribute to this process. This compensation is hard in semi-arid and arid regions of the world, however, in humid regions it needs less effort.

Őrség - one of the southwestern landscape of the Carpathian basin - is a typical example of a humid-mesic climate. Due to its unique ecological, economic, and social characteristics, Őrség shows higher resistance against global changes. The humid-mesic climate and the acid soil with low fertility promote the forest succession on abandoned arable lands and pastures. Due to the warming and the anthropogenic CO2 and NOx forest areas show accelerating growth. High forest coverage (62%), extensive land management, high humidity, high proportion of nature close areas, unique landscape structure, and soft tourism all manifest themselves in higher stability against negative changes. Under these specific site conditions, reviving capacity of forests is relatively high: uncultivated lands quickly become forests without human intervention. Therefore, the best line of action would be to support this natural afforestation process with tree species that are less climate-sensitive and more drought-tolerant. The increasing proportion of forests parallel with the decreasing proportion of uncultivated land reduces the possibility of the invasion of alien plant species. The afforestation process of rural areas is highly supported by the present Hungarian policy. 

Our research aims to enhance the observation that rural landscapes provide great examples for sustainability. These areas have not only remained viable, they also safeguard our future.

How to cite: Balázs, P., Berki, I., and Horváth, A.: Local example for the compensation of negative global environmental phenomena, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12749,, 2021.

Using Deep Machine Learning to Understand Green Space Popularity, Activities, Functionality, and Design Implications: a comparison of Chicago and Stockholm
Si Chen and Brian Deal
Marek Petreje, Michal Snehota, Tomas Chorazy, Michal Novotny, Barbora Rybova, and Petra Hečkova

As implementation of green roofs can require a large amount of natural resources, such as water and natural components of growing media, the green roof system that uses principles of circular economy was developed and tested. The objective of the study was to verify the performance of the novel concept of combination of constructed wetland and extensive green roof irrigated with pre-treated grey water. Furthermore, the growing medium of the extensive part of the roof contains fractions of recycled crushed brick and pyrolyzed sewage sludge (biochar). In order to design and select a suitable growing medium, 16 variants of substrates were prepared and tested for water holding capacity and water retention curves. Two small test beds were built to test the viability of the novel green roof concept. In order to assess the effect of pyrolyzed sewage sludge, only one experimental bed contained this material (9.5 vol. %), whereas the crushed brick was part of both substrates (37.5 vol. %). The concept of the constructed wetland-extensive green roof was assessed on the basis of water balance measurements, laboratory analyses of water samples taken from various parts of the experimental beds, temperature and water content measurements along the experimental bed´s layers height. Physical properties of the designed substrates such as maximum water capacity, bulk density, grain size, and pH were determined.

After the first six months of performance, the concept of the constructed wetland-extensive green roof seems to be viable. There are relatively low concentrations of nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) in the leachate from test beds, namely because the irrigation provides the water directly to the drainage layer, and nutrient-rich substrate enriched with biochar isn't leached by irrigation water. Concentrations of nutrients increase only in response to precipitation. The constructed wetland part of the system proven a high potential to reduce the concentration of the nutrient in pre‑treated grey water.

The vegetation formed by Sedum spp. carpets is prospering well on both test beds. Nutrients from biochar are apparently available for the vegetation. Therefore, the vegetation on the bed with biochar amended substrate shows more vigorous growth and higher evapotranspiration. Substrates amended with recycled materials developed in the study had comparable properties (maximum water capacity, bulk density, pH) with commercial substrates. The monitoring of test beds continues in order to understand better the processes affecting water quantity and quality in long-term perspective.

How to cite: Petreje, M., Snehota, M., Chorazy, T., Novotny, M., Rybova, B., and Hečkova, P.: Combination of constructed wetland and extensive green roof that uses growing media with added recycled materials, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14833,, 2021.

Saglara Mandzhieva, Vladimir Chernenko, Valery Kalinitchenko, Alexey Glinushkin, Alexey Zavalin, Marina Burachevskaya, Tatiana Minkina, Svetlana Sushkova, Ljudmila Ilyina, Daniil Kozlov, and Alexander Kashcheev

Current land-use policy needs for innovative soil processing technologies. We carried out a long-term field experiment on the Kastanozem in following options: moldboard plowing to a depth of 22 cm; chiselling to a depth of 35 cm; three-tier PTN–40 plowing to a depth of 40–45 cm; PMS–70 intra-soil milling of the 20–45 cm layer. Moldboard, chisel and three-tier plowing does not improve soil aggregate system. 20–45 cm soil layer milling by PMS–70 provides the formation of the 1–3 mm aggregates. 30–40 years after PMS–70 processing, the soil profile structure remained fine aggregate. Soil organic matter and dissolved organic matter content, as well as the soil productivity, were higher after PMS–70. New intra-soil milling machine PMS–260 was developed. The moldboard plowing did not change the natural soil profile vertical morphological differentiation. The soil loosening effect was short-term after soil chiselling. After the three-tier PTN-40 plowing, a large part of humus horizon material strews down the soil profile between the chaotically spread large structural blocks of illuvial and transitional horizons. After PMS–70 processing, the content of 1–3 mm size aggregate particle fraction in the illuvial horizon was triple compared to the three-tier PTN–40 plowing. The soil desalination was intensive after PMS–70. The absorbed Na+ content in solonetz was about 18–20% of soil cation exchange capacity (CEC) in the moldboard option. The same was after the chiselling. The CEC Na+ content was of 14–16% after the PTN–40. The CEC Na+ content was of 10–12% after the PMS–70. The SOM content in the 0­–20 cm soil layer was 2.0%, in the 20-40 cm layer of 1.3%; the DOM content was 0.03% and 0.02% respectively in moldboard plowing option. The SOM and DOM content increased slightly in a period 3–4 years after chiselling. The SOM content was 2.2% in the 0­–20 cm, and 1.4% in the 20–40 cm; the DOM content was 0.04% and 0.03% respectively after the PTN–40. The SOM content increased to 3.3% in the 0–20 cm soil layer, and to 2.1% in the 20–40 cm layer; the DOM content increase was 0.05% and 0.04% respectively after the PMS–70. In the moldboard option, the rhizosphere developed only in the upper soil layer of 0–20 cm. The rhizosphere spreads through the soil crevices after chilling. The conditions of rhizosphere development were better in the local comfort zones of the soil profile after three-tier PTN–40 plowing. The rhizosphere developed well and uniformly both in the upper 0–20 cm and in the 20-45 cm layer after intra-soil milling by PMS–70. Improved plant growing conditions provide higher plant resistivity to pathogens.  The technology life cycle profitability: moldboard 21.5%, chiseling 6.9%, three-tier 15.6%, intra-soil milling 45.6%. The new design of intra-soil milling machine provides five times less traction resistance; 80% increased reliability, halving energy costs. Intra-soil milling provides long-term land-use prospects.

The research was supported by the RFBR, project no. 18-29-25071, and by the President of the Russian Federation, no. MK-2244.2020.5.

How to cite: Mandzhieva, S., Chernenko, V., Kalinitchenko, V., Glinushkin, A., Zavalin, A., Burachevskaya, M., Minkina, T., Sushkova, S., Ilyina, L., Kozlov, D., and Kashcheev, A.: Intra-soil milling for long-term efficient land use prospects , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15279,, 2021.

Elisie Kåresdotter and Zahra Kalantari

Wetlands as large-scale nature-based solutions (NBS) provide multiple ecosystem services of local, regional, and global importance. Knowledge concerning location and vulnerability of wetlands, specifically in the Arctic, is vital to understand and assess the current status and future potential changes in the Arctic. Using available high-resolution wetland databases together with datasets on soil wetness and soil types, we created the first high-resolution map with full coverage of Arctic wetlands. Arctic wetlands' vulnerability is assessed for the years 2050, 2075, and 2100 by utilizing datasets of permafrost extent and projected mean annual average temperature from HadGEM2-ES climate model outputs for three change scenarios (RCP2.6, 4.5, and 8.5). With approximately 25% of Arctic landmass covered with wetlands and 99% being in permafrost areas, Arctic wetlands are highly vulnerable to changes in all scenarios, apart from RCP2.6 where wetlands remain largely stable. Climate change threatens Arctic wetlands and can impact wetland functions and services. These changes can adversely affect the multiple services this sort of NBS can provide in terms of great social, economic, and environmental benefits to human beings. Consequently, negative changes in Arctic wetland ecosystems can escalate land-use conflicts resulting from natural capital exploitation when new areas become more accessible for use. Limiting changes to Arctic wetlands can help maintain their ecosystem services and limit societal challenges arising from thawing permafrost wetlands, especially for indigenous populations dependent on their ecosystem services. This study highlights areas subject to changes and provides useful information to better plan for a sustainable and social-ecological resilient Arctic.

Keywords: Arctic wetlands, permafrost thaw, regime shift vulnerability, climate projection

How to cite: Kåresdotter, E. and Kalantari, Z.: Vulnerability and Importance of Arctic Wetlands as large-scale nature-based solutions for Sustainability in a Changing Climate, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3148,, 2021.

Jessica Page, Haozhi Pan, and Zahra Kalantari

Globally, urban areas contribute significantly to the emissions of the greenhouse gases (GHGs) which are leading to anthropogenic climate change. To achieve long-term sustainable development goals, urban regions will need to grow and develop in such a way that they can both provide a good quality of life for all of their inhabitants, and also reduce and offset their GHG emissions to reach and maintain net-zero GHG emissions.

This work aims to further our understanding of the impact of urban form and growth on GHG emissions, to identify ways in which nature-based solutions (NBS) can be integrated into urban planning to help cities reach net zero emissions while continuing to grow sustainably. We will conduct a high-resolution (1x1km) spatial accounting and mapping of GHG emissions from selected urban anthropogenic activities (residential, commercial, transportation) for Stockholm, Sweden which includes those factors relevant to and impacted by urban form (such as density, land use pattern transportation networks, green spaces) to allow for the analysis of different types of city spatial patterns and planning decisions and their implications in GHG emissions. The results will be further expanded to cities across the European Union (EU) for comparison. Conclusions will be drawn about where and how NBS interventions should be used most effectively to reduce urban GHG emissions and facilitate sustainable city growth in the future.

Keywords: Sustainable cities; Land-use; Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Nature-based Solutions

How to cite: Page, J., Pan, H., and Kalantari, Z.: Assessing impacts of urban form on GHG emission with high-resolution spatial grids to implement nature-based solutions for carbon neutral cities, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10793,, 2021.

Global environmental challenges and SDG nexus research from a hydrological perspective
James Callegary, Anne-Marie Matherne, Sandra Owen-Joyce, Elia Tapia Villaseñor, Amy Rosebrough, Ismael Minjárez Sosa, Gilbert Anaya, Floyd Gray, Sharon Megdal, and Rogelio Monreal

Four US and six Mexican border states share significant interconnections in terms of trade, jobs, energy production, manufacturing, and natural resources such as water. The border states have a mutual interest in characterizing groundwater resources shared between the US and Mexico, a task made difficult by scarcity of information. To address this challenge, a number of US and Mexican federal agencies and universities via the Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Program (TAAP) have come together to jointly study the shared groundwater resources of the border region, and to develop the information needed by cities, states, industries and local communities to support decision making and land management.

Investigations of four binational aquifers selected in the first phase of TAAP are in progress. Carrying out these investigations has created a cohesive binational multi-institutional team of social and physical scientists and established relationships with a broad network of stakeholders. Completed products relevant to the present work include: (1) analysis of the availability and integration potential of binational data sets, (2) aquifer assessments including a review of US-Mexico aquifer classifications (3) development of water-balance models, (4) analysis of aquifer vulnerability to contamination, and (5) a set of protocols and agreements that address the specific physical, legal, cultural, and institutional setting of the US-Mexico border.

Additional aquifers along the border (estimates of the total range from of 8 to 38) could be investigated, but there are questions as to how to define them, which to choose, and what types of studies are needed. To help answer these questions, we developed a pilot project to investigate and develop methods and tools to assist decision makers and land managers in prioritizing additional aquifers for investigation along the US-Mexico border. First is an approach for rapid assessment of additional aquifers using existing data, published literature, and simple analytical tools including conceptual hydrogeologic model development and precipitation-groundwater lag-correlation analysis. Second, a groundwater modeling platform was developed for use by stakeholders for both learning and planning. Third, in preparation for stakeholder ranking of aquifers for investigation, we conducted a review of multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) as applied to coupled human-natural resource systems and a review of real-world examples of aquifer prioritization schemes used by governmental entities. Finally, an assessment of uncertainty with respect to knowledge about and trajectory of the coupled human-biophysical system was carried out to aid in stakeholder discussions of prioritization criteria and weighting schemes. These results and tools can be used to support prioritization of any set of aquifers. However, some are specifically designed to address transboundary aquifers and will be used to inform binational discussions regarding prioritization of future aquifer investigations along the US-Mexico border.

How to cite: Callegary, J., Matherne, A.-M., Owen-Joyce, S., Tapia Villaseñor, E., Rosebrough, A., Minjárez Sosa, I., Anaya, G., Gray, F., Megdal, S., and Monreal, R.: Pilot Study of Methods to Support Stakeholder Prioritization of Transboundary Aquifers for Investigation along the US-Mexico Border, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6898,, 2021.

Moya Macdonald, Jemma Wadham, Fiorella La Matta Romero, Jon Hawkings, Bram Willems, and Raul Loayza-Muro

Approximately 70% of the world’s tropical glaciers are found in Peru, with 40% of these in the Cordillera Blanca (CB). Here, glaciers are an important source of meltwater to downstream people (~0.25 million) and ecosystems, supporting 40% of streamflow in the dry season. However, the CB has experienced high levels of glacier retreat and mass loss in recent decades, which has influenced the quantity and quality of water supply. During this time, some meltwater-fed rivers have become ‘toxic’, characterised by low pH and high metal concentrations. This toxicity has been linked to exposure of sulphide- and metal-rich rock types as glaciers retreat, and has implications for clean water supply (SDG 6), subsistence farming (contributing to SDG1 and 2), and freshwater biodiversity (SDG 15). Here, we present a comprehensive spatial analysis of water quality in the CB to understand the key drivers of worsening water quality and to predict which catchments may be vulnerable in the future. We sampled 18 glacierised catchments in the CB for geochemical and biological parameters during the dry and wet seasons. River pH ranged from 2.5 to 8.3, with two catchments highly acidic (~pH 2.5-3.8). The concentrations of several riverine metal species (including manganese, nickel, copper and a suite of rare-earth elements) were strongly negatively correlated with pH in the catchments. Additionally, most of the 40 metals analysed in rivers with low pH were present in a truly dissolved phase (>90% of 0.45 µm filtered concentrations were <0.02 µm), indicating high potential bioavailability and biotoxicity. Indeed, shifts in community composition of benthic macroinvertebrates indicated a replacement of sensitive benthic macroinvertebrate taxa (Limnephilidae, Hyaleliidae) in pristine rivers by more tolerant taxa (Chironomidae) in acidic rivers. We suggest that metal leaching and altitude may be important factors influencing diversity, richness and abundance of benthic macroinvertebrate communities. Here, we synthesize data on water quality and glacier retreat, offer predictions of future river toxicity and introduce a novel citizen-science, green-infrastructure initiative being developed to combat water quality degradation in the region.

How to cite: Macdonald, M., Wadham, J., La Matta Romero, F., Hawkings, J., Willems, B., and Loayza-Muro, R.: Impacts and solutions associated with glacier-driven river toxicity in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10130,, 2021.

Kim Vercruysse and Bob Grabowski

Hydrological and geomorphological processes within the land-river interface (LRI) can be directly linked to several Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The transfer of water and material along the LRI provides a range ecosystem services that support environmental, economic and social needs. However, the LRI is also very dynamic from a hydrologic and geomorphic perspective. Benefits can turn into hazards and vice versa, depending on natural and human-induced variations in flow and associated geomorphic activity. This study aimed to identify these critical areas by (i) quantifying the natural and human controlled variation in hydrology and geomorphology, and (ii) mapping associated SDG-related opportunities and trade-offs. The upper reaches of the Himalayan Beas River (India) were used as a case study, where the LRI is characterised by three main sections: (i) a free-flowing confined upper valley, (ii) a heavily regulated confined middle valley, and (iii) and a valley with wide floodplains flowing into the Pong Reservoir. Remote sensing imagery from Sentinel-2 (ESA) (2016-2019) were used to quantify the monthly spatial recurrence of river channels and gravel bars. In addition, data was collected on human and natural infrastructure within the catchment (including road network, urban areas, cropland, national parks, etc.). Combination of both datasets indicated that hydrological and river geomorphological processes in the upper part are the most spatially and temporally variable, leading to fertile soils (SDG 1,2), but also the highest risk of flooding in urban areas and cropland (SDG 11, 13) . The middle part is characterised by stable river channels (i.e. no lateral movement) due to the presence of two dams and confines valleys, leading to limited interaction with the surrounding land, except for the provision of water (SDG 6) and a higher risk of landslides (SDG 1,11). Finally, the lower part is again more dynamic in terms of geomorphological processes, with wide gravel bars and side channels. These dynamics allow larger urban areas and cropland to develop (SDG 1, 11), but also exposes cropland to flooding and erosion (SDG 2, 6). By quantifying the spatiotemporal dimension of hydrological and geomorphological processes and how these relate to LRI characteristics, this study provides a dynamic baseline to identify opportunities and trade-offs in optimising the role of the LRI in driving sustainable development.

How to cite: Vercruysse, K. and Grabowski, B.: Quantifying how hydrological and geomorphical dynamics in the land-river interface create opportunities and trade-offs for sustainable development, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-4693,, 2021.

Zhipin Ai and Naota Hanasaki

Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) plays a critical role in many stringent scenarios targeting the 2°C goal. Although irrigation is considered a promising way to enhance BECCS potential while reducing the land requirement, it is still unknown where and to what extent it can enhance the global BECCS potential in view of sustainable water use. Based on integrated hydrological simulations, we found that sustainable irrigation without intervention in water usage for other sectors and refrain from exploiting nonrenewable water sources enhanced BECCS potential by only 5–6% (much smaller than 60–71% for unlimited irrigation) above the rainfed potential by the end of this century. Nonetheless, it adds limited additional water withdrawal (166–298 km3 yr-1, corresponding to only 4–7% of the current total withdrawal) compared to that with unlimited irrigation (1392–3929 km3 yr-1, corresponding to 35–98% of the current total withdrawal).

How to cite: Ai, Z. and Hanasaki, N.: How would irrigation enhance the global BECCS potential in view of sustainable water use?, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8596,, 2021.

Lucy R. Roberts, Heather L. Moorhouse, Oanh Truong, Phong Nguyen Thanh, Suzanne McGowan, Virginia N. Panizzo, Phillip Barker, Nga T. Do, Feisal M.F. Rahman, Jorge Salgado, Tuhin Ghosh, Sourav Das, Mashfiquas Salehin, Ahmed Ishtiaque Amin Chowdhury, Andrew C.G. Henderson, and Andrew R.G. Large

The Living Deltas Hub is a UKRI GCRF-funded community investigating the environmental, societal, and natural-cultural heritage of three South and Southeast Asian mega-deltas; the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta spanning India and Bangladesh, and the Mekong Delta and Red River Delta of Vietnam. Globally, deltas occupy only 1% of the total land area, but support the livelihoods of ~500 million citizens. As a consequence of growing human populations and intensified anthropogenic activity these deltas face multiple challenges, such as eustatic sea level rise, land subsidence, saline intrusion, unsustainable extraction of natural resources, habitat loss, pollution, and are currently on a trajectory towards collapse. The waterscape of the deltas place SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) at the heart of sustainable development. Thus, the Hub aims to quantify and assess human impacts on the water quality of major river channels, canals, and ponds by establishing catchment-wide water quality monitoring supplemented by historical data, biomonitoring networks, community science projects (including water quality and participatory GIS) and local knowledge of water quality. This will result in improved understanding of the impacts of the multi-functionality of water sources in Asian mega-deltas from basic domestic use (bathing and drinking water) up to industrial scale aquaculture, and can lead to the success of SDG 6 (clean water), SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing), SDG 2 (zero hunger – here, through sustainable aquaculture), and SDG 14 (life below water). In addition, the combined methodology of water quality monitoring and understanding lived experiences can be used to identify the concerns of local communities, identify inequalities in the access to safe water (working towards SDG 10 reduced inequalities) and understand the female experience (working towards SDG 5 gender inequality). Using a literature review of pond water quality and use in the delta regions and data from household surveys conducted in three regions of the Mekong Delta (Ben Tre, An Giang and Can Tho), we will use ponds as a case study to demonstrate how this approach can be used to improve understanding of community access to safe water. 


How to cite: Roberts, L. R., Moorhouse, H. L., Truong, O., Nguyen Thanh, P., McGowan, S., Panizzo, V. N., Barker, P., Do, N. T., Rahman, F. M. F., Salgado, J., Ghosh, T., Das, S., Salehin, M., Amin Chowdhury, A. I., Henderson, A. C. G., and Large, A. R. G.: The GCRF Living Deltas Hub: using water quality monitoring and lived experiences to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2891,, 2021.