Open-Air Laboratories

OPERANDUM Open-Air Laboratories (OALs) cover a wide range of hazards, with different levels of climate projections, land use, socio-economic characterization, existing monitoring activities and NBS acceptance.


This Open-Air Laboratory is located in the Weany Creek sub-catchment, within the Upper Burdekin Catchment and part of the Burdekin River Basin. Possible nature Nature-based and hybrid solutions are restoring degraded land using environmentally friendly and sustainable biotechnology, developing methods to limit transport sediments and limit erosion, improving the economy of the area, and establishing a healthy operation of gully erosion in Great Barrier Reef.

OALs Australia


This Open-Air Laboratory is located in the lower Watten valley (Tyrol, Austria), specifically in the area of the slope of Vögerlsberg. This slope has a continuously moving part that can cause landslides. The activity of the landslides is mainly controlled by the incoming ground water, but it accelerates in prolonged moist periods and during snow melt, threatening the agricultural land, forested areas and several buildings in that region. In fact, many buildings already show severe damages due to the ground motion.

OALs Austria


This Open-Air Laboratory is located at the Hexi Corridor, in Northwest China. Between the 1960s and the 1990s, this watershed was a highly claimed territory that experienced extensive groundwater extractions. All of these human activities, as well as the arid climate conditions found in this area, make the Shiyang river watershed a very vulnerable region to the variability of climate change. In fact, now it faces water shortage and land degradation.

OALs China

China (Hong Kong)

Hong Kong has a subtropical climate with high temperatures throughout the year, with an average annual temperature of 24℃. Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures ranging from about 27 to 34℃; winters are cool and dry, but rarely drop below 5℃. The objective of the OAL Hong Kong is to investigate the mechanisms and mitigation of heatwaves in rural and urban Hong Kong, and to develop a tree model which can be coupled into urban canopy model.

OALs China


This Open-Air Laboratory is placed in the lake Puruvesi (Eastern Finland), specifically in the lake Vehka-Kuonanjärvi. As forestry is the main land use, this lake suffers from an overabundance of aquatic plants caused by an excess of nutrients and sediments, reducing the availability of oxygen and limiting life under water. Moreover, heavy rain and snow melt accelerate this leaching to the lake, thus threatening its biodiversity and ecological services.

OALs Finland


This Open-Air Laboratory is located in UNESCO’s biosphere reserve Flusslandschaft Elbe, specifically in the Lower Saxony Elbe Valley. The Natura 2000 protected area alongside the Elbe river holds uniquely biodiverse floodplain forests and is home to an active rural life. Due to climate change, the regular hydric fluctuations in this area are turning into extreme floods, with increasingly frequent heavy rainfall events that threaten the local community’s lives and means, highly dependant on agriculture and tourism.

OALs Germany


This Open-Air Laboratory is located in the Spercheios river basin, in Central Greece. From October to May, heavy rainfall and snowmelt often cause the riverbank to overflow, which threatens the population of the region as well as its agriculture and livestock. During the summer, the area experiences water scarcity because of the limited precipitations and the increasing irrigation demands.

OALs Greece


This Open-Air Laboratory is situated in the Ringsend region in Dublin, Ireland. Surrounded by the river Dodder, this urban area generates around 10 % of the country’s entire Gross Domestic Product. However, the region is threatened by extreme rainfall that may lead to pluvial floods, as well as floods from the river and tides, because Ringsend has a low elevation. Indeed, recent floods have resulted in losses of property and infrastructure.

OALs Germany

Italy (Panaro river)

This Open-Air Laboratory is located in the river Panaro, a tributary of the Po river in the province of Modena (Northern Italy). The Panaro basin is a populated area that holds many industrial and agricultural activities. However, they are threatened by a high risk of flooding, which could be consequent to the collapse of the earthen embankments in case of extreme events. The risk of damages to the exposed elements is exacerbated by the vulnerability of the infrastructures and the lack of flood proofing of the properties and buildings.

OALs Italy

Italy (Volano Beach)

This Open-Air Laboratory is located in the Po di Volano Natural Reserve (Northeast coast of Italy), specifically in the Volano Beach. Close to the Po river delta, this spot features a rich natural heritage with vegetated dunes and coastal pine forests. Exposed to storm surges related to the Sirocco wind, this low-lying, sandy beach suffers frequent marine floods and coastal erosion that threaten both the ecosystem and the local community, reliable on farming and tourism.

OALs Italy

Scotland / UK

This Open-Air Laboratory is located in Aberdeenshire (Northeast coast of Scotland), specifically in the Catterline Bay, a renowned spot for its outstanding natural beauty. Due to a sand-and-clay soil and a low percentage of green cover, this area suffers from shallow landslides and coastal erosion. When heavy rain and high waves hit the coast, water infiltrates and liquifies the earth. Such instability poses a threat to the local community’s lives and homes –built right atop the sea cliffs—as well as to the overall landscape.

OALs Finland


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