Modelled effectiveness of NbS in reducing disaster risk: evidence from the OPERANDUM project

Paul Bowyer*, Silvia Maria Alfieri, Bidroha Basu, Emile Cremin, Sisay Debele, Prashant Kumar, Veronika Lechner, Michael Loupis, Massimo Menenti, Slobodan Mickovski, Alejandro Gonzalez Ollauri, Jan Pfeiffer, Francesco Pilla, Beatrice Pulvirenti, Paolo Ruggieri, Arumina Sakar Basu, Christos Spyrou, Silvia Unguendoli, Thomas Zieher, Silvana Di Sabatino

*Corresponding author for this work

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The use of nature-based solutions (NbS) to address the risks posed by hydro-meteorological hazards have not yet become part of the mainstream policy response, and one of the main reasons cited for this, is the lack of evidence that they can effectively reduce disaster risk. This paper addresses this issue, by providing model-based evidence from five European case studies which demonstrate the effectiveness of five different NbS in reducing the magnitude of the hazard and thus risk, in present-day and possible future climates. In OAL-Austria, the hazard is a deep-seated landslide, and the NbS analysed is afforestation. Modelling results show that in today's climate and a landcover scenario of mature forest, a reduction in landslide velocity of 27.6% could be achieved. In OAL-Germany, the hazard is river flooding and the NbS analysed is managed grazing with removal of woody vegetation. Modelling results show that the NbS could potentially reduce maximum flood water depth in the near-future (2031-2060) and far-future (2070-2099), by 0.036m and 0.155m, respectively. In OAL-Greece, the hazard is river flooding, and the NbS is upscaled natural storage reservoirs. Modelling results show that in a possible future climate the upscaled NbS show most potential in reducing the total flooded area by up to 1.26 km2. In OAL-Ireland, the hazard is surface and river flooding, and the NbS is green roofs. Results from a modelled upscaling analysis under two different climate scenarios show that both maximum flood water depth, and total flooded area were able to be reduced. In OAL-UK, the hazard is shallow landslides, and the NbS is high-density planting of two different tree species. Modelling results under two different climate scenarios show that both tree species were able to improve slope stability, and that this increased over time as the NbS matured. The significance of these results is discussed within the context of the performance of the NbS over time, to different magnitude type events, impact with stakeholders in engendering wider support for the adoption of the NbS in the OALs, and the uncertainty in the modelling analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100127
JournalNature-Based Solutions
Early online date8 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • nature-based solutions
  • climate change
  • landslides
  • river flooding
  • surface flooding
  • stakeholder engagement


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