Finland: Researchers at the Aalto University, Finland, developed mathematical models describing the interaction between water flow, vegetation and sediments in river basins. The hydraulic models will be used to create a basis for natural, environmentally sound flood management.
The project models actual trees and their leaves unlike previous modelling projects that have been based on small-scale experiments performed on rigid, cylinder-like objects. Docent Juha Jarvela from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering envisaged a development path where the mathematical models being created in the current project would be combined with remote sensing methods implemented using satellites or aeroplanes.
Remote sensing can be used to effortlessly measure the leaf area index of a river basin and create GIS data describing the properties of the vegetation in the area. When the hydraulic models are combined with this information, it will be possible to assess how leaving vegetation untouched or clearing an area from vegetation will affect the water flow and flood susceptibility of a river.
In addition to researchers from Aalto University, researchers from the BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna will also participate in the four-year project funded by the Academy of Finland. The Austrian researchers will bring biological expertise to the project.
Besides flood management, researchers are also interested in nutrient and sediment discharges in river environments.
Source: Aalto University