Revitalisation of a dynamic riverine landscape in Central Germany (WilMu)

Channelised site at the Mulde River
Channelised site at the Mulde River
Natural site at the Mulde River
Natural site at the Mulde River

The morphology and discharge are significant drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in river and floodplain habitats. Hence, management measures to restore riverine hydromorphology should ultimately lead to changes in ecosystem functioning and thus ecosystem services. The WilMu project studies the effects of placing submerged logs, removing shoreline embankments and connecting a former river branch has on the floodplain and riverine hydromorphology of the upper Mulde River, a 5th order tributary of the Elbe River. Within the project, the work package ‘Organic matter dynamics’ focuses on the effect of the restoration measures on food web dynamics, benthic metabolism and nutrient uptake. We expect that the reintroduction of submerged logs will change the local hydraulics with increase sedimentation of fine particulate organic matter and increase surface for the growth of biofilm. This will diversify the trophic basis of the local food web and will thus change the organic matter uptake. In terms of restoring the natural shoreline morphology, we expect that the increased area resulting from the de-channelisation of the main river should in-turn increase the extent of aquatic-terrestrial coupling, i.e. the magnitude of organic matter flows from the river to the surrounding floodplain. All measurements will be conducted one year before and two years after the restorations measure at the study site and two reference sites following a BACI design. 

More information can be found at the Wilde Mulde project web page.


  • Dresden University of Applied Sciences
  • Leichtweiß-Institute for Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources
  • University of Leipzig
  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna


Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (Grant no. 01LC1322B)