|Floodplain forest restoration as a nature-based solution to create climate-resilient communities in European lowland estuaries
Markus-Michalczyk, H.; Michalczyk, M. (2023). Floodplain forest restoration as a nature-based solution to create climate-resilient communities in European lowland estuaries. Water 15(3): 440. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/w15030440
In: Water. MDPI: Basel. e-ISSN 2073-4441, meer
floodplain forest; nature-based solution; estuaries; restoration; flood control
- Markus-Michalczyk, H., meer
- Michalczyk, M.
Anthropogenic impact has largely altered the estuarine environment. Today, Nature-based solutions (NbS) are required to respond to challenges such as flooding that affect both the human population and estuarine ecosystems. Estuarine ecosystems such as saltmarshes and floodplain forests provide valuable services, and wetland restoration for flood control is suggested. Recently, flow velocities attenuating the effects of juvenile floodplain willows and wave attenuation through White willow trees under extreme conditions have been found. Services in flood control seemed promising. However, large woods do not bend and may cause turbulence. On the contrary, complex and flexible woody vegetation bends in response to currents and reduces velocities, thereby inducing lower turbulence, but knowledge of the diversity and structure of tidal willow floodplain forests (TWFF) is lacking. Thus, first, an observational study on the occurrence of TWFF in European estuaries along the North Sea was carried out. Based on findings in aerial images, only small TWFF fragments were confirmed in the field for the Elbe, Ems, Dutch delta, and the Scheldt estuary. Based on these findings and the analyses of management plans, the restoration of TWFF was planned, implemented, and studied, including a long-term study at the Elbe estuary upstream stretch. The results of the restoration efforts are provided, including the long-term study (2012–2022) on a restored TWFF in the Elbe estuary, which could serve as a pilot for TWFF restoration and adapting estuarine communities to climate change via NbS.