Natural flood management: Opportunities to implement nature-based solutions on privately owned land

Thomas Thaler, Paul Hudson, Christophe Viavattene, Colin Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The implementation of Natural Flood Management (NFM), as an example of a nature-based solution (NbS), is promoted as a risk reduction strategy to support sustainable flood risk management and climate change adaptation more widely. Additionally, as an NbS, NFM aims to provide further multiple benefits, such as increased biodiversity and improved water quality as well as improved mental health. The implementation of NbS often needs private-owned or managed land, yet can create conflicts between the different stakeholders which can undermine the social consensus required for successful implementation. Consequently, a main question is how the multiple benefits and requirements of NFM can be delivered to meet the different goals of the wide variety of stakeholders who must be involved. This article discusses the challenges and potential of implementing NFM as an alternative to the traditional technical mitigation measures in flood risk management. We outline four opportunities in the implementation of NFM: physical conditions of the catchment, social interaction, financial resources, and institutional setting. Their importance is then demonstrated and compared to different examples across the globe. Nevertheless, the core drivers reflect the social interaction and institutional setting and the role of stakeholders in the successful implementation of NFM.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1637
Number of pages18
JournalWIREs Water
Early online date1 Feb 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Feb 2023

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