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The LANDWISE project is a collaboration of academics, policymakers and practitioners working in the Upper Thames catchments to investigate the impact of land use and management on flood risk in a lowland agricultural catchment. It is led by Reading University and is one of three NERC funded projects evaluating natural flood management measures for flood alleviation. A particular focus of the research is to measure and model the effectiveness of measures such as crop choice, land preparation, building soil organic matter and tree planting for reducing small to large flood events across a range of scales, from local to a large river basin.

Research objectives

  1. Use existing data, maps and local knowledge of current land use and management to create scenarios for modelling experiments to assess the impact of NFM measures on the extent of historic and predicted flood events
  2. Collect field data on soil infiltration and below-ground storage in fields incorporating a variety of land-based NFM measures
  3. Use remote sensor techniques to survey vegetation and soil moisture across the catchment
  4. Run land use/NFM scenarios in established hydrological models to explore impacts
  5. Create web applications to display and explore outputs of modelling experiments

Latest updates

This four-year project started in November 2017

Follow us on Twitter using hashtag #LandwiseNFM

Our Involvement

Our contribution is focused on collating and analysing a range of spatial datasets to better understand communities at risk and opportunities for natural flood management to reduce downstream flooding. The results will be used to create land use scenarios for modelling experiments to guide future policy decisions. Tom Nisbet is a member of the Project Leadership Group.


Landwise is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) Evaluating the Effectiveness of Natural Flood Management research programme.


Research & Consultancy: University of Reading, British Geological Survey, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, University of Gloucestershire, Forest Research, JBA Consulting, CGI Group, Institute for Environmental Analytics JBA Trust, University of Sheffield, Agrimetrics

Policy: Environment Agency, Natural England, Forestry Commission

Flood Groups: National Flood Forum, Loddon Valley Residents Association, Swallowfield Flood Resilience Group, Pang Valley Flood Forum

Farm Advisors: National Farmers Union, Farm and Wildlife Advisory Group (SE), Farm and Wildlife Advisory Group (SW), Arcadian Farm Advice

Farmers: Wilts Soil and Root Innovators, Penn Croft Farm, Hendred Farm Partnership, Fincham Farm Partnership, Yatesbury House Farm, Kingsclere Estate, Farmer Guardians of the Upper Thames

Conservation NGOs: The National Trust, Loddon Fisheries & Conservation Consultative, Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership, Wild Oxfordshire, Foundation for Water Research, Action for River Kennet, South East Rivers Trust, Freshwater Habitats Trust, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Westcountry Rivers Trust

Local Flood Authorities: Wokingham Borough Council, West Berkshire Council, Hart District Council, Swindon Borough Council, Thames Regional Flood & Coastal Committee

Water Utilities: Affinity Water, Thames Water

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Tom Nisbet

Science Group Leader