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PlanSmart in a Nutshell

Photo: Julian Martitz

A resilient development of river basins faces increasing water-borne challenges such as securing water quality and provision, mitigating the effects of droughts, and protecting against flooding. Nature-based solutions, understood as actions which are inspired by, supported by, or copied from nature, can help societies address ecological, social and economic challenges in sustainable ways (European Commission, 2015). Examples of nature-based solutions are the restoration of floodplains and wetlands, the transformation of arable land into grasslands, and cooperation agreements with land users to enhance ecosystem services delivery. The effects of nature-based solutions include an enhanced resilience against flooding or drought, improved water quality, nutrients and greenhouse gas retention, enhanced human health and well-being, and the safeguarding of species and habitats. Nature-based solutions are often more cost-effective than technical alternatives.

PlanSmart is a junior research group exploring innovative approaches for addressing water-borne challenges through planning and implementing nature-based solutions in river basins and urban regions. PlanSmart advances knowledge through a transdisciplinary process to assessing, developing, and implementing nature-based solutions with novel methods, tools and technologies. PlanSmart is based at Leibniz Universität Hannover in cooperation with the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research – ZALF.


PlanSmart is supported through the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the funding priority "Social-Ecological Research" within the Research for Sustainability Program (FONA³).