Nature-based solutions for coastal resilience and landslide mitigation

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How can Nature play a role in protecting coastal areas and reducing the risk of landslides?

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Hydrometeorological hazards such as floods, droughts and landslides are occurring more frequently and more severely due to climate change. Future climate projections suggest that the challenges of managing these hazards are likely to become even more demanding. Nature-based Solutions (NBS) can be used to effectively address these risks and build resilience while providing environmental, social, and economic benefits.

This can mean preserving coastal and mountain ecosystems and biodiversity, while contributing to managing the risks of coastal erosion and landslides. Depending on the location and hazard, relevant actions can include snow fences, drainage trenches, forest management, eco-engineering solutions such as live pole drain, live ground anchors, high density planting or artificial dune and marine seagrass. Examples of such solutions are implemented within the OPERANDUM project at the Open-Air Laboratories (OAL) Austria, Italy and UK.

These are among the 7 European rural territories working to reduce hydro-meteorological risks by co-creating, testing, and demonstrating the effectiveness of innovative NBS. Each OAL has unique environmental and socio-cultural conditions and is exposed to different types of hazards. The OALs integrate NBS research and development processes through a holistic approach by collaboratively exploring, experiencing, and assessing innovative ideas, scenarios, concepts, and technological features in real-life use cases.

Join the third OPERANDUM OAL webinar and gain insights and take-aways based on the continuous co-creation process of exploring, testing, and adapting innovative NBS to coastal resilience and landslide mitigation at OALs.

OAL activities in a nutshell

OAL Austria: Located south of the town of Wattens in Tyrol, characterized by a deep-seated gravitational slope deformation (DSGSD), which has recently shown active movement in the order of 4cm/year. Optimization of the forest management with regard to water-related effects on the landslide and nature-based sealing of leaky streams and channels are the interventions co-selected to reduce the activity of the landslide that are caused by incoming groundwater after prolonged rainfall events and snow melt..

OAL UK: Located on the Northeast coast of Scotland, OAL-UK is adjacent to Catterline Bay. The OALis subjected to shallow landslides, surface and coastal erosion due to its sloping topography, to the accumulation of surface water coming from natural springs, and its proximity to the North Sea. To manage landslides and erosion, this OAL opted for eco-engineering solutions seeking to protect and reinforce the soil on the slopes with plant-based NBS. Examples of NBS implemented in OAL-UK are live pole drain, live ground anchors, high density planting, live crib wall and live grating.

OAL Italy: One of the OAL Italy sites is located on the Emilia Romagna coast of Adriatic Sea, on the Bellocchio and Volano beaches. Erosion, storm surge marine floods threaten the freshwater ecosystem and biodiversity and inland human activities. The Bellocchio beach was selected as the first site of the project, but unfortunately strong storm surges occured in December 2020 eroding the beach, thus the alternative site of Volano was introduced. Artificial dunes and marine seagrass are implemented to protect the coast from storm surges and flooding and to reduce wave amplitude.

Who are our experts?

Alejandro Gonzalez Ollauri, Research Fellow in applied ecology and soil bioengineering at Glasgow Caledonian University and coordinator of OAL UK.

Thomas Zieher, Postdoc Researcher in remote sensing and landslide modelling and monitoring at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and coordinator of OAL Austria.

Beatrice Pulvirenti, Associate Professor of Applied Physics in the Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Bologna and coordinator of OAL Italy.

Umesh Pranavam Ayyappan Pillai, Postdoc researcher in oceanography and ocean wave modelling at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Bologna and partner of OAL Italy.

How to join the webinar?

All you have to do is register here and follow the link you receive before the event.

We look forward to seeing you online!

For more information on the OPERANDUM Project, click here.

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