Towards sustainable land uses within the Elbe river biosphere reserve in Lower Saxony, Germany by means of TerraSAR-X images

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Floods are one of the major hazards worldwide. They are the source of huge risks in rural and urban areas, resulting in severe impacts on the civil society, industry and the economy. The Elbe River has suffered from many severe floods during recent decades. In this study, the zones flooded during 2011 were analyzed using TerraSAR-X images and a digital elevation model for the area in order to identify possible ways to mitigate flood hazards in the future, regarding sustainable landuse. Two study areas are investigated, around the Walmsburg oxbow and the Wehningen oxbow. These are located between Elbe-Kilometer (505-520) and (533-543), respectively, within the Lower Saxonian Elbe River Biosphere Reserve. Those areas are characterized by several types of land use, with agricultural land use being predominant. The study investigated the possibility of using a Decision-Tree object-based classifier for determining the major land uses and the extent of the inundation areas. The inundation areas identify for 2011 submerged some agricultural fields that must be added to existing flood risk maps, and future cultivation activities there prevented to avoid the possible economic losses. Furthermore, part of the residential area is located within the high flood zone, and must be included in risk maps to avoid the possible human and economic losses, to achieve sustainable land use for the areas studied.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Geoscience and Environment Protection
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)97-121
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2016