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Deliberating options for nature-based river development: Insights from a participatory multi-criteria evaluation

To address societal challenges in river landscapes, various options are conceivable that differ in the degree of adopting nature-based solutions (NBS) and the respective impacts on people and nature. Multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) can aid participatory deliberations about the performance and significance of such options. However, little experience and evidence exist from the application of participatory MCE in planning NBS in river landscapes. This study aims to expand the understanding of individual and collaborative judgments of agency representatives about river development options with varying levels of NBS interventions. A process tracing approach with a rigorous participatory MCE for four alternatives to develop an exemplary river in Germany is adopted, as well as weighted linear aggregation, descriptive statistics, principal component analysis, and decision tree modelling for data analysis. The results reveal a wide agreement among participants on the positive impacts of NBS on biodiversity and water quality. Participants also tended to judge those ecological dimensions as more important than non-ecological ones. The rankings of alternatives differed when elicited individually but seemed to converge during the deliberation process. Overall, the results indicate a relative preference of participants for medium NBS interventions, but also shed light on potential implementation hurdles. The study closes by proposing key questions to consider for MCE of NBS.

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Governance models for nature-based solutions: Seventeen cases from Germany

Nature-based solutions (NBS) for mitigating climate change are gaining popularity. The number of NBS is increasing, but research gaps still exist at the governance level. The objectives of this paper are (i) to give an overview of the implemented NBS for flood risk management and mitigation in Germany, (ii) to identify governance models that are applied, and (iii) to explore the differences between these models. The results of a hierarchical clustering procedure and a qualitative analysis show that while no one-size-fits-all governance model exists, polycentricism is an important commonality between the projects. The study concludes by highlighting the need for further research on traditional governance model reconversion and paradigm changes. We expect the findings to identify what has worked in the past, as well as what is important for the implementation of NBS for flood risk management in future projects.

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