Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) are defined by the EU as solutions that are ‘inspired and supported by nature, which are cost-effective, simultaneously provide environmental, social and economic benefits and help build resilience’. Such solutions bring more, and more diverse, nature and natural features and processes into cities, landscapes, and seascapes, through locally adapted, resource-efficient and systemic interventions. The working-with-nature concept is getting increasing interest in climate regulation strategies, such as carbon emission reduction, forest protection, bio-diversity preservation and in environmental related human activities, such as fishery, agriculture and livestock industry.
OPERANDUM will use and deploy ecosystem services to provide sustainable, cost-effective, multi-purpose and flexible alternatives to traditional building-against-nature engineering.
Past research funded by the EU has led to considerable improvements in developing suitable protection policies of vulnerable territories leading to an increasing awareness of the potential effect of climate change. The use of traditional engineering heavily based on “grey protection measures”, e.g. building dams, using concrete to build barriers to prevent coastal erosion, building embankments to prevent flooding, is unfeasible in most countries due to its high cost and the major usage of valuable land. Demographic pressure and the extent of the affected areas prevent the adoption of grey measures or more severe actions (e.g. resettlements) prefer “soft counter measurements” (e.g. early warning systems or increased community awareness). Nevertheless, such actions tend to reduce risk acting on exposure but leaving the hazard unchanged. Alternative solutions are nature-based, building upon ecosystems services, and provide their efficacy through adequate validated in climate change scenarios. As regards the design and the implementation, however, much remains to be defined.
OPERANDUM’s ambition is to address and overcome these barriers, through Open-Air Laboratories (OALs). The aim of these OALs is to produce innovation, to drive the change in current practices of land planning and improving resilience to hydro-meteorological hazards, and by producing advancement of state-of-art and innovative nature-based measures in several areas.
OPERANDUM works closely with other NBS projects, such as:
Solutions to reduce risk in mountain landscapes PHUSICOS – “According to nature” in Greek – is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 program. It will demonstrate how nature-based solutions provide robust, sustainable and cost-effective measures for reducing the risk of extreme weather events in rural mountain landscapes.
Regenarating ECOsystems with Nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk rEduCTion RECONECT is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 program and demonstrates, references and upscales Nature-Based Solutions in rural and natural areas.