A manual for the evaluation of ecosystem services of large rivers and floodplains in the Danube River Basin

Within the Interreg project IDES (https://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/ides) a manual for a harmonized evaluation and mapping of ecosystem services of rivers and floodplains in the Danube River Basin has been elaborated with contributions of the Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management (IHG). The IDES Manual puts emphasis on the improvement of water quality using synergies with ecosystem services and illustrates best practice examples for the entire basin and selected pilot areas. It offers a basis for science-based decision-making and is intended as a methodological guide for key actors in water management (e.g. water agencies, planners, sectoral administrations) and other practitioners.

The IDES Tool represents the methodological core of the manual. Here, the delineation of floodplains, and the selection and evaluation of their ecosystem services are described. The provided detailed factsheets and working material aid interested readers to assess and map ecosystem services using widely available data. In 5 pilot areas, the IDES Tool was tested and validated: Together with local and regional stakeholders, the most important ecosystem services, pressures, and mitigation measures were compiled and scenarios for improving ecosystem services and water quality were developed. The synthesis and visualisation of the cross-sectoral benefits in the scenarios and thus in management actions are exemplified in the manual.

In conclusion, the IDES Manual helps to identify win-win situations between sectors using ecosystem services together with stakeholders and thus, can accelerate decisions on measures and nature-based solutions. The joint approach between science and practice is important to tackle current and future water management problems and to support the wider implementation of integrative floodplain management.

The IDES Manual and working material for the IDES Tool can be downloaded at: https://doi.org/10.17904/ku.edoc.30670