Tafel, Leopold, Edward Ott, Mario Brillinger, Christoph Schulze, & Barbara Schröter (2021, December). Attitudes of administrative decision-makers towards nature-based solutions for flood risk management in Germany. Sustainability Science. (ePub in advance of print) (Open Access: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11625-021-01072-0)

Abstract: Over the last two decades, alternative and holistic concepts, such as Nature-based Solutions (NbS) were introduced and adopted by policy-makers, including to the field of flood protection, thereby causing a paradigm shift towards flood risk management. The inclusion of natural water retention measures (NWRM) such as dike relocation and floodplain restoration into the German guidelines for flood protection institutionalized the new concepts in Germany. Whereas small scale NbS and the affected population have already been subject to thorough scientific research, large-scale NbS and the decision-makers assigned with the measure’s implementation have yet to be studied. How do administrative decision-makers perceive the new approach and measures? Are there particular attitudes among the decision-makers regarding NbS? Which aspects of implementing large-scale NbS influence possible attitudes? Which hurdles do decision-makers concern for the implementation of the new concepts? This paper investigates these questions on the example of dike relocation and floodplain restoration using Q-methodology with administrative decision-makers of flood protection authorities in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. The consecutive statistical analysis unveiled three significant viewpoints among the decision-makers. The viewpoints/attitudes were classified as 1. The Convinced, 2. The Concerned and, 3. The Evaluators, defined by varying and individual concerns on the implementation of dike relocation and floodplain restoration. Hereby, this study delivers insights on large-scale NbS as well as on the issues of their implementation.

Leopold Tafel <leopold.tafel> is in the Albrecht Daniel Thaer-Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

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