Economic assessment of nature-based solutions to reduce flood risk and enhance co-benefits

Laddaporn Ruangpan*, Zoran Vojinovic, Jasna Plavšić, Alex Curran, Nikola Rosic, Ranko Pudar, Dragan Savic, Damir Brdjanovic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Flooding is expected to increase due to climate change, urbanisation, and land use change. To address this issue, Nature-Based Solutions (NBSs) are often adopted as innovative and sustainable flood risk management methods. Besides the flood risk reduction benefits, NBSs offer co-benefits for the environment and society. However, these co-benefits are rarely considered in flood risk management due to the inherent complexities of incorporating them into economic assessments. This research addresses this gap by developing a comprehensive methodology that integrates the monetary analysis of co-benefits with flood risk reduction in economic assessments. In doing so, it aspires to provide a more holistic view of the impact of NBS in flood risk management. The assessment employs a framework based on life-cycle cost-benefit analysis, offering a systematic and transparent assessment of both costs and benefits over time supported by key indicators like net present value and benefit cost ratio. The methodology has been applied to the Tamnava basin in Serbia, where significant flooding occurred in 2014 and 2020. The methodology offers valuable insights for practitioners, researchers, and planners seeking to assess the co-benefits of NBS and integrate them into economic assessments. The results show that when considering flood risk reduction alone, all considered measures have higher costs than the benefits derived from avoiding flood damage. However, when incorporating co-benefits, several NBS have a net positive economic impact, including afforestation/reforestation and retention ponds with cost-benefit ratios of 3.5 and 5.6 respectively. This suggests that incorporating co-benefits into economic assessments can significantly increase the overall economic efficiency and viability of NBS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119985
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 2024


This work was supported and funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 776866 for the research RECONECT (Regenerating ECOsystems with Nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk rEduCTion) project. The study reflects only the authors' view and the European Union is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.


  • Adaptation measures
  • Co-benefits
  • Cost-benefits analysis
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Monetary
  • NBS


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