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Development of ecosystem-based approaches for the support of risk management activities in connection with natural hazards and climate change

GreenRisk4Alps will establish, test and implement new forestry and ecosystem-based management in the Alpine region. Integrated user-tailored and territorially specific risk management systems for natural hazards such as rock fall, avalanches, debris flows and torrents will be implemented in six Pilot Action Regions balancing numerous interests, demands and costs.

Project Summary

Forests and mountain ecosystems are of outstanding importance in the global reduction of natural hazards and risks, but above all in the Alpine region (AS), and are increasingly regarded as equivalent to technical measures or other mitigation concepts. Forests provide efficient protection against avalanches, torrents, landslides and rockfalls. So far, however, few strategies or policies have been developed to integrate forests and ecosystem services into risk management and to balance the many interests, requirements and costs.

The challenges facing the Alpine Space are dramatic: limiting settlement space, increasing costs for the protection of settlements, more conflicts due to rising demands and expectations, or critical development of economies such as “monoculture tourism”. Without an appropriate, territorially specific implementation of mountain ecosystem services (including forests) in a risk reduction strategy, sustainable development in AS will be difficult to achieve.

GreenRisks4Alps goal

The overarching goal of GreenRisk4alps is the development of ecosystem-based concepts to support risk governance with respect to natural hazards and climate impacts. GreenRisk4alps brings the forest into affordable and long-term oriented risk management by balancing green, technical and preventive risk strategies. GreenRisk4alps promotes ecosystems and in particular mountain forests as an intrinsic part of all spatially relevant measures to reduce natural hazard risks: actively and preventively.

GreenRisk4alps has a clear strategy to overcome conflicts and resistances in doing eco-system-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR): all relevant actors are involved and provided with new mitigation alternatives and scientific communication support. Transalpine solutions aim to involve communities (pilot action regions) and governance institutions in the project.

Project direct outputs

  • New Tools: GreenRisk4alps will deliver a number of tools for practitioners integrated in the new toolbox FAT (Forest Assessment Tool box).
  • New recommendations and guidelines for new eco-system-based risk management strategies in the Alpine space supporting the assessment and implementation on a local and national level. This includes i) road map for a multiple actor and decision targeted information process and ii) concepts for overcoming national barriers and constraints of ecosystem-based risk management iii) guideline for the prioritisation of ecosystem-based risk management strategies on the municipality level.
  • Forest & Risk Management Workbook: the new standardized forest management handbook includes contributions from all partner countries and is applicable to practitioners from the whole AS.

GreenRisks4Alps lasts from April 2018 to April 2021 and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Alpine Space programme (Total budget: 2.412.601 € – ERDF grant: 2.050.711 €).


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Landscape foto – fotocredit: Barbara Zabota