New perspectives for the ecological restoration of streams and rivers

What impact the ecological restoration of waterways has on people is a subject that has rarely been studied till now. It stands to reason that renaturalized waterways are more attractive for many social groups – such as local residents or people taking a walk – than a body of water that has been channeled. ISOE is studying this social-ecological issue in cooperation with the Senckenberg Research Institute. First the research team is conducting a qualitative survey at three sections of the Nidda, Rodau and Gersprenz rivers in Germany; then, in a second step, it is conducting telephone interviews about several river sections in the German states of Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. The researchers are surveying what animals and plants people have observed, whether and how the local population spends its recreational time at the renaturalized river sections, or how they experience the landscape. In order to capture these social and cultural values which ecosystems offer society, reference is made to the concept of ecosystem services. The goal is to improve the way social perceptions and evaluations are integrated into future restoration project

Project partners

  • Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt, Department of Riverine Ecology and Nature Conservancy Research (overall project management)
  • University Duisburg-Essen, Faculty for Biology


Kurt-Lange-Foundation, Sparkassen Foundation Gelnhausen, Hessian Nature Protection Foundation (Stiftung Hessischer Naturschutz), German Environment Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt)


Deffner, Jutta/Peter Haase (2018): The societal relevance of river restoration. Ecology and Society 23 (4), 35

Birzle-Harder, Barbara/Jutta Deffner/Peter Haase (2014): Renaturierungsmaßnahmen an Fließgewässern: Wahrnehmung durch Bewohner anliegender Gemeinden. Ergebnisse einer empirischen Studie. ISOE-Studientexte, 23. Frankfurt am Main: ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung


2013/03 – 2014/03

Contact person

 +49 69 7076919-38

Project team