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An overview of monitoring methods for assessing the performance of nature-based solutions against natural hazards

Kumar, P. et al. | Earth-Science Reviews | 2021
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2021.103603

Abstract

To bring to fruition the capability of nature-based solutions (NBS) in mitigating hydro-meteorological risks (HMRs) and facilitate their widespread uptake require a consolidated knowledge-base related to their monitoring methods, efficiency, functioning and the ecosystem services they provide. We attempt to fill this knowledge gap by reviewing and compiling the existing scientific literature on methods, including ground-based measurements (e.g. gauging stations, wireless sensor network) and remote sensing observations (e.g. from topographic LiDAR, multispectral and radar sensors) that have been used and/or can be relevant to monitor the performance of NBS against five HMRs: floods, droughts, heatwaves, landslides, and storm surges and coastal erosion. These can allow the mapping of the risks and impacts of the specific hydro-meteorological events. We found that the selection and application of monitoring methods mostly rely on the particular NBS being monitored, resource availability (e.g. time, budget, space) and type of HMRs. No standalone method currently exists that can allow monitoring the performance of NBS in its broadest view. However, equipments, tools and technologies developed for other purposes, such as for ground-based measurements and atmospheric observations, can be applied to accurately monitor the performance of NBS to mitigate HMRs. We also focused on the capabilities of passive and active remote sensing, pointing out their associated opportunities and difficulties for NBS monitoring application. We conclude that the advancement in airborne and satellite-based remote sensing technology has signified a leap in the systematic monitoring of NBS performance, as well as provided a robust way for the spatial and temporal comparison of NBS intervention versus its absence. This improved performance measurement can support the evaluation of existing uncertainty and scepticism in selecting NBS over the artificially built concrete structures or grey approaches by addressing the questions of performance precariousness. Remote sensing technical developments, however, take time to shift toward a state of operational readiness for monitoring the progress of NBS in place (e.g. green NBS growth rate, their changes and effectiveness through time). More research is required to develop a holistic approach, which could routinely and continually monitor the performance of NBS over a large scale of intervention. This performance evaluation could increase the ecological and socio-economic benefits of NBS, and also create high levels of their acceptance and confidence by overcoming potential scepticism of NBS implementations.

Publication Information

Peer Reviewed
Methodological articleSystematic review

Nature based approach


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