A nature-based solution selection framework: criteria and processes for addressing hydro-meteorological hazards at open-air laboratories across Europe

Alejandro Gonzalez Ollauri*, Slobodan B. Mickovski, Carl C. Anderson, Sisay Debele, Rohinton Emmanuel, Prashant Kumar, Michael Loupis, Joy Ommer, Jan Pfeiffer, Depy Panga, Francesco Pilla, Srikanta Sannigrah, Elena Toth, Liisa Ukonmaanaho, Thomas Zieher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Nature-based solutions (NbS) can be beneficial to help human communities build resilience to climate change by managing and mitigating related hydro-meteorological hazards (HMHs). Substantial research has been carried out in the past on the detection and assessment of HMHs and their derived risks. Yet, knowledge on the performance and functioning of NbS to address these hazards is severely lacking. The latter is exacerbated by the lack of practical and viable approaches that would help identify and select NbS for specific problems. The EU-funded OPERANDUM project established seven Open-Air Laboratories (OALs) across Europe to co-develop, test, and generate an evidence base from innovative NbS deployed to address HMHs such as flooding, droughts, landslides, erosion, and eutrophication. Herein, we detail the original approaches that each OAL followed in the process of identifying and selecting NbS for specific hazards with the aim of proposing a novel, generic framework for selecting NbS. We found that the process of selecting NBS was overall complex and context-specific in all the OALs, and it comprised 26 steps distributed across three stages: (i) Problem recognition, (ii) NbS identification, and (iii) NbS selection. We also identified over 20 selection criteria which, in most cases, were shared across OALs and were chiefly related to sustainability aspects. All the identified NbS were related to the regulation of the water cycle, and they were mostly chosen according to three main factors: (i) hazard type, (ii) hazard scale, and (iii) OAL size. We noticed that OALs exposed to landslides and erosion selected NbS capable to manage water budgets within the soil compartment at the local or landscape scale, while OALs exposed to floods, droughts, and eutrophication selected approaches to managing water transport and storage at the catchment scale. We successfully portrayed a synthesis of the stages and steps followed in the OALs’ NbS selection process in a framework. The framework, which reflects the experiences of the stakeholders involved, is inclusive and integrated, and it can serve as a basis to inform NbS selection processes whilst facilitating the organisation of diverse stakeholders working towards finding solutions to natural hazards. We animate the future development of the proposed framework by integrating financial viability steps. We also encourage studies looking into the implementation of the proposed framework through quantitative approaches integrating multi-criteria analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number117183
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume331
Early online date10 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • green infrastructure (GI)
  • ecosystem-based approaches
  • stakeholder participation
  • co-creation
  • ecological engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'A nature-based solution selection framework: criteria and processes for addressing hydro-meteorological hazards at open-air laboratories across Europe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this