Open-air Laboratory


The Elbe River is regularly affected by flood events and is being explored in Germany with blue-green NBS as a response. The German case study focuses on flood protection in a nature conservation area near Hamburg. The OAL-Germany presents the Biosphere Reserve Lower Saxony Elbe Valley, part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Elbe River Landscape. Large areas of the biosphere reserve belong to the European protected area system NATURA 2000.

OAL Germany

Flooding is a significant problem for inhabitants of the biosphere reserve. In particular, the runoff-inhibiting forest is perceived as a major risk, as it is crucial for functioning flood protection to reduce the extreme flood height of the Elbe at narrow points by removing runoff-inhibiting vegetation.

Motivation for choice according to hazard exposure and asset value

  Wet and dry cycles, flooding
The Biosphere Reserve ‘Niedersächsische Elbtalaue’ respresents Lower Saxony’s contribution
to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve ‘Flusslandschaft Elbe’ (Elbe River Landscape)

Possible nature-based and hybrid solutions

Reinforcement of decentralized retention areas in the marshland, unsealing areas and land-use changes, re-activating floodplains, re-naturation of embankments etc.

For more information you can visit the interactive page with elaborated details and solutions for OAL-Germany

Our partners


Across the world, we are facing challenges like disaster risk everyday. Some of us are living in areas where disasters are very likely. Which challenges are you facing in your area? Flood, landslides, coastal erosion, drought, something else?


The fear of flooding is a major perceived risk. Floods affect many areas, such as agriculture, infrastructure, local businesses as well as the tourism sector. To deal with the risk of flooding, OPERANDUM has implemented multiple Nature-based Solutions.


Soil Erosion

Soil erosion is the denudation of the upper layer of soil. It is a form of soil degradation. This natural process is caused by the dynamic activity of erosive agents, such as water, snow, ice, air, plants, animals and humans.


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