BiodivERsA OSCAR – Optimising the configuration of woody riparian buffer strips along rivers to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services

Woody riparian buffers along rivers provide multiple ecosystem services, many more besides nutrient retention (e.g. mitigating water temperature), enhance habitat- and biodiversity and serve as migration corridors for biota.

However, there is limited knowledge on the overall benefits and especially on how these effects depend on the spatial arrangement and add up at the river network and catchment scale, which limits the strategic and targeted implementation of woody buffers.

Therefore, the main objectives of OSCAR are:

  • To summarize the knowledge on the local effects of woody buffers on ecosystem functions and biodiversity
  • To complement the knowledge rules with studies on the large-scale river network and catchment effects
  • To develop and test a modelling approach to assess woody riparian buffer effects at larger river network and catchment scales
  • To guide the use of woody buffers in river management at different levels:
    • provide simple knowledge rules on the effect of different woody buffer configurations for practical local use
    • synthesize them into a GIS tool for river management to assess the effect of woody buffers at larger river network and catchment scales
    • transfer results of scenario runs into policy recommendations at national and EU levels, especially for the implementation of the WFD and establishment of funding schemes under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

For details see OSCAR outputs here and website here.