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International collaboration for protection of riparian forests

Dr. Nadira Degembaeva (Kyrgyz Naryn State University) and Dr. Dušanka Cvijanović (University of Novi Sad, Serbia) are currently staying at the KU Professorship of Applied Physical Geography (Prof. Dr. Bernd Cyffka) as guest researchers. They both work in the field of hydrology and renewable energies and closely collaborate with the Floodplain Institute Neuburg and its head Professor Cyffka.

(from left) Prof. Dr. Bernd Cyffka with visiting researchers Dr. Nadira Degembaeva and Dr. Dušanka Cvijanović. (Photo: Schulte Strathaus/Press Office)

Dr. Degembaeva is involved in the current project “ÖkoFlussPlan”. A team of researchers led by Professor Cyffka investigates how the use of riparian forests along the Naryn river in Kyrgyzstan can be designed in a compatible and sustainable way. The international collaboration project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Research over a project period of three years. Degembaeva not only uses her stay at the KU to promote the work on “ÖkoFlussPlan” in personal exchange with the researchers at the KU, but also to make contact with scientists from the Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI), who are investigating the perspectives of renewable energies for the population along the Naryn river in the context of this project. In addition to plantations of fast-growing trees, this project also seeks to implement modern technologies for generating renewable energy in the region as an alternative to the extraction of wood from the riparian forests.

The contact with the Serbian scientist Dr. Dušanka Cvijanović was established in the context of another current project of the KU Floodplain Institute: The “Danube Floodplain” project, which was launched this year, takes a holistic perspective involving the entire Danube and aims to combine flood protection with species protection by preserving and restoring floodplain areas. In this EU-funded project, a total of 24 project partners seek to investigate the positive effects of floodplains that are still in existence and determine which potential could be exploited in currently dry floodplains which have been altered by human interference (e.g. through river regulation). Serbia was chosen as one of five pilot regions for the project, at the end of which there will be a guidebook to support landscape planners in preserving and restoring floodplains in the Danube area. Cyffka and Cvijanović also intend to use their network in order to launch another project in Serbia in the near future.