Optimizing Solutions

People plant young tree in deep mud in mangrove reforestation project

The scientific challenge of this theme is to analyze, evaluate and optimize strategies to deal with impacts of subsidence and associated loss of ecosystem services.

Multidisciplinary sustainable management

Sustainable delta management strategies are needed to ensure that future delta societies benefit from vital services provided by deltas while not exhausting or destroying them. Delta managers aiming to restore or mitigate subsidence not only need fundamental knowledge concerning processes that drive changes in deltas and associated impacts, but also must take into account the socio-economic and governance system and legislative frameworks operating in the area. 

Learning from current strategies

We evaluate strategies to deal with impacts of subsidence and loss of ecosystem services in deltas as the basis, to improve and optimize delta management. We focus especially on regulatory and policy approaches that support or hamper change in different deltas, awareness building, financing the prevention or restoration of subsidence. We also emphasize issues related to burden sharing and diverse and fragmented public and private responsibilities such as water management, land use, nature conservation, drinking water supply, urban and rural development and agriculture to prevent and restore damages.

Science for Environment Policy

Dealing with uncertain risks and  shifts in land use towards more sustainable and resilient deltas call for public and private involvement and responsibilities. To address these responsibilities in an appropriate and legitimate way,  based on shared and mutual responsibilities on different levels and scales and taking equitable burden and benefit sharing as leading principles, it is essential to incorporate scientific knowledge concerning natural processes into policy development, environmental legislation and decision-making.


Hegger, D.L.T., Driessen, P.P.J., Dieperink, C., Wiering, M., Raadgever, G.T., van Rijswick, H.F.M.W. (2014). Assessing Stability and Dynamics in Flood Risk Governance. An Empirically Illustrated Research Approach. Water Resources Management, vol. 28, pp. 4127-4142. doi 10.1007/s11269-014-0732-x.

Mees, H.L.P., Dijk, J., van Soest, D., Driessen, P.P.J., van Rijswick H.F.M.W., Runhaar, H. (2014). A method for the deliberate and deliberative selection of policy instrument mixes for climate change adaptation. Ecology and Society, 19 (2): 58. 

Van Rijswick, H.F.M.W, Havekes, H. (2012). European and Dutch Water Law, Europa Law Publishing Groningen.

Raadgever, G. T., Dieperink, C., Driessen, P. P. J., Smit, A. A. H., Van Rijswick, H. F. M. W. (2011). Uncertainty management strategies: lessons from the regional implementation of the Water Framework Directive in the Netherlands. Environmental Science & Policy, 14(1), 64-75.


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