German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Status report on German floodplains

Mäandrierende Mulde mit Sandbänken, Grünland und Gehölzen in der Aue. Bildautor: Planungsbüro Konzen

Floodplains are hotspots of biodiversity and central elements of an ecological network. They are also flood protection areas, greenery of waterways, and areas of agricultural as well as urban use. The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) funded a number of projects which aimed to raise an inventory of the remaining active floodplains at the larger rivers in Germany and their status.

For about 10.000 kilometres of larger rivers and streams of Germany dimension, loss of flooding areas, and status of the remaining active floodplains are presented in three maps. These maps and the status report on floodplains shows that at large parts of streams like Rhine, Elbe, Danube, and Odra only 10-20% of the former river basin can be flooded. The floodplains’ status is expressed in five classes of modification relative to a potentially natural status – from “nearly unmodified” to “very heavily modified”. Only 10% of the German floodplains are nearly unmodified or slightly modified, however 54% are heavily or very heavily modified.

These results show that there is an urgent need of floodplain restoration. The report and the maps shall be an useful information source for administrations, planners and nature conservation organisations.



Status of the active floodplains

Loss of flooding areas

Last Change: 23/03/2021