Climate Buffers

A specific adaptation strategy, which aims to define spatial solutions in the form of natural landscape shaping processes, which are able to increase the resilience of urban areas as well as the countryside and thus forming a buffer against climate change, protecting and sustaining existing functions and offering chances for new functions (Andriesse et al., 2007).

The cooperative nature organisations in the Netherlands developed a concept how spatial lay out and water can be adapted to climate change: the natural climate buffers (Bureau Stroming, 2006). This concept aims to anticipate on climate change. The changes that require most measures are in the Netherlands mostly related to water: protection against the sea and rivers and dealing with

Watur-imtuur * EHS

Watur-imtuur * EHS

Fig. 5.25 Differences between all adaptive measures and ecological policy (Source: Roggema et al., 2008)

surpluses or shortages. A technical approach will become increasingly dissatisfying. The solutions of the future need to include the acceptance of risks and need to offer spatial changes. Safety measures need to strengthen the vitality of ecosystems and at the same time offer chances for economical developments. Climate buffers aim to provide such a solution, which add high qualitative multifunctional spatial measures to the landscape (Bureau Stroming, 2006). Climate buffers reactivate or revitalise natural landscape forming processes. They offer space for nature, housing, working and recreation and are capable of growing with the changes and the pace of climate change. They are applicable in any landscape type. In the Netherlands five different landscapes are distinguished: River landscapes, Estuaries, Dune landscapes, Lower

Table 5.1 Probable effects on landscapes without climate buffers

Landscape type

Natural functioning

Without climate buffer

River landscapes

Natural erosion and sedimentation lead to meandering rivers, with room for rivers

Room for the river is a good start, but more space is required

Estuaries

Recovering natural erosion and sedimentation and enough deliverance of sediment the estuaries can grow along with sea level rise

Dissatisfying deliverance of sediment causes lack of resilience against sea level rise and the existing buffer function

Dune landscape

Restoring of the natural increase of dunes contributes to the strengthening of the coastal defence

A fixed coast line diminishes the resilience of the coastal defence

Lower peat landscapes

Increase of groundwater levels supports the grow of lower peat and withstands soil subsidence

Increased soil subsidence, flood risks and salination

Higher sand and hilly landscapes

High water storage ability (sponge)

Less water is stored, increase of high river discharges and less water available in dry periods

Source: Andriesse et al. (2007).

Source: Andriesse et al. (2007).

peat landscapes and Higher sand and hilly landscapes. In Table 5.1 is shown for every landscape what would happen if climate buffers were not realised.

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