This report tries to demonstrate the role of Green Infrastructure (GI) for mitigating vulnerability to weather and climate variability-related natural hazards at European level, addressing some of the challenges and information gaps. It proposes a simple, practical methodology for screening (rather than assessing) ecosystem services in areas where GI may contribute to reducing current (or future) weather and climate-related natural hazards. The report addresses landslides, avalanches, floods, soil erosion, storm surges and carbon stabilisation by ecosystems.
Coastal systems are increasingly vulnerable to flooding due to thecombined influence of coastal storms, development and populationgrowth, geomorphic change, and sea level rise. This reality has given riseto efforts to make greater use of ecosystem-based approaches to reducerisks from coastal storms, approaches which draw from the capacity ofwetlands, beaches and dunes,biogenic reefs, and other natural features toreduce the impacts of storm surge and waves.
Vegetated and unfertilized buffer zones alongside watercourses can significantly contribute to improve micro-climatic conditions, they act as a shield against overland flow from agricultural fields by reducing the run-off of sediments and pollutants reaching the watercourse and increasing groundwater recharge, and they contribute to reduce vulnerability to floods. A general, multi-purpose, riparian buffer design consists of a strip of grass, shrubs, and trees between the normal bank-full water level and cropland.
A groyne is a shore protection structure built perpendicular to the shoreline of the coast (or river), over the beach and into the shoreface (the area between the nearshore region and the inner continental shelf), to reduce longshore drift and trap sediments. A groyne field or system is a series of groynes acting together to protect a beach. Rock is often used as construction material, but wooden groynes, steel groynes, rubble-mound and sand-filled bag groynes, or groynes made of concrete elements can also be found.
Coastal wetlands (or tidal marshes) are saltwater and brackish water wetlands located in coastal areas. They provide natural defence against coastal flooding and storm surges by wave energy dissipation and erosion reduction, helping to stabilise shore sediments. In some locations (such as the Schedlt Estuary), coastal wetlands can be used to absorb storm surge waters, attenuating flooding. Coastal wetlands also are important habitats, for example providing a nursery function for fish and shellfish and a variety of services to birdlife and can contribute to water purification.
This measure refers to the retreat or relocation of settlements, infrastructure and productive activities from the original location due to high exposure to risks such as flood, sea-level rise and storm surges. It is considered in particular in coastal areas. In southwestern France, a shoreline road in the municipalities of Sète et de Marseillan (Languedoc-Roussillon region) was moved inland as it was threatened by erosion of the beach. This allowed the reconstruction of a larger beach and dune system, which together should provide greater protection against erosion.
Agroforestry systems include all land-use systems or forms of land management where woody perennials are deliberately used in the same land unit with agricultural crops (silvoarable agroforestry) and/or animals (silvopasture), in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence, valorising both ecological and economic interactions between the various components. Agroforestry exploits the complementarity between trees and crops, so that the available resources can be more effectively exploited.
Dune erosion results from wind action (surface erosion) and marine erosion of the toe and face of the dune. Erosion is a natural phenomenon that can be worsened by human activities. Dune construction, strengthening and rehabilitation refer to the restoration of the flood safety and sand reservoir functions of dunes. This include the following processes:<ul><li>Dune grass planting: plant dune grasses on the face of the dune and the front to reduce wind speed across the surface and thereby trapping and holding sand.
Biodiversity provides a wide range of ecosystem services (provisioning, regulation and maintenance, cultural services) which are essential for the human well-being. Among the others, these services play an important role in regulating the climate, thus making a key contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is an emerging urban development paradigm aimed to minimise hydrological impacts of urban development on environment.