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
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.