Throughout Europe the demands for improved flood protection on the one hand and the requirements to maintain and enhance floodplain forests on the other are perceived as conflicting goals in river-basin management, revealing the urgent need for strategies to combine both issues. We developed an interdisciplinary approach for floodplain-forest restoration identifying sites suitable for reforestations from both an ecological and hydraulic point of view. In the ecological module, habitat-distribution models are developed providing information on ecologically suitable sites. In the hydraulic module, a two-dimensional hydrodynamic-numerical model (2D-HN model) delivers the requested hydraulic information. The output of the two models is intersected. Subsequently, in an iterative procedure, the potential of plantings without exceeding critical water levels can be identified by hydraulic evaluation using the 2D-HN-model. The approach is exemplified using two reforestation scenarios at the Elbe River, Germany, showing considerable potential for softwood forest establishment without negative hydraulic effects. The approach reported here provides a solution for a severe conflict in river-basin management that hampers the reestablishment of the strongly threatened floodplain forests in Europe. Alternative measures to enhance floodplain-forest regeneration feasible under certain preconditions are discussed in the context of the current state of European large rivers.