A battery of soil and plant indicators of nbs environmental performance in the context of global change

Pilar Andrés*, Enrique Doblas-Miranda, Stefania Mattana, Roberto Molowny-Horas, Jordi Vayreda, Moisès Guardiola, Joan Pino, Javier Gordillo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Nature-based solutions (NBSs) for risk reduction produce environmental effects that must be assessed to evaluate their performance. In a context of climate change and growing concern about the loss of biodiversity, indicators informing about ecosystem complexity, resilience and stability are required. NBS projects hardly ever include environmental monitoring programs and, at best, NBS performance is evaluated based on elementary indicators that provide poor information about ecosystem functions and services. Within the framework of the PHUSICOS (EU, H2020) project, a NBS approach is being applied to reduce the hydrometeorological risks (rock falls and snow ava-lanches) that threaten a transnational road and a very populated town in the Pyrenees range. In both cases, the planned actions are modifying soil and vegetation structure and functioning as well as the environmental services they provide. Here we present a set of soil and plant indicators designed to be included in the postoperation monitoring plan of both NBS projects. We provide a description and information about the range of values of every indicator measured in the study sites together with indications about analytical methods and sampling calendar. We discuss the trade-offs between monetary cost, expertise requirements and meaningfulness of the indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1913
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2021


  • Environmental services
  • Hydrogeological risks
  • NBS monitoring
  • Plant indicators
  • Rock falls
  • Snow avalanches
  • Soil bioindicators


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