Future Floodplains

The FWO-SBO project 'Future Floodplains' is a partnership between various scientific partners in Flanders and focuses on ecosystem services of floodplains under socio-ecological changes.

Rivers and alluvial floodplains represent many ecosystem services (ESS) such as biodiversity, carbon storage, groundwater storage, agriculture, water buffering and recreation. Many of these ESS are, however, conflicting for involved social users and policy makers. Furthermore, these ESS may alter due to climate change, land use change, urbanization, or a change in river management.  The various stakeholders involved with rivers and floodplains currently lack the necessary tools to compare the value of the various, often conflicting, ecosystem services attributed to floodplains in order to make more balanced policy and management decisions. A sustainable management of future floodplains requires in the first place a fundamental insight into the various geomorphological, hydrological and ecological processes and their interactions, and this in a number of contrasting environmental settings. 

In floodplains there is an important interplay between geomorphological, ecological and hydrological processes (Figure 1). In order to get a detailed understanding of the sensitivity of floodplain geoecohydrology to changing driving forces and controlling factors, and in order to study the dynamics of floodplains under changing socio-ecological conditions, an interdisciplinary approach is needed, in which this interplay of processes is studied in a holistic way.  The Future Floodplains project therefore will focus on the interaction between geomorphological, ecological and hydrological processes in Flanders' floodplains.

Figure 1. Geo-ecohydrology of floodplains
Figure 1. Geo-ecohydrology of floodplains

'Future Floodplains' is financed by FWO (Fund for Scientific Research - Flanders) as an SBO-project. The Strategic Basic Research (SBO) program focuses on innovative research which, if scientifically successful, will create prospects for economic or societal applications. The project runs from May 1st 2017 until April 30th 2021.