The Nature Based Solutions Initiative’s team explore how Nature-based Solutions can help us build the nature-rich, low-carbon societies of the future.
Nature-based solutions (NbS) are ways of tackling societal challenges by working with nature. They typically involve restoration of natural ecosystems, such as forests, peatlands, marshes, grasslands and reefs (Seddon et al. 2019, 2020). But they can also comprise more unusual practices, such as the creation of floating agricultural beds in Bangladesh – an age-old traditional practice which is now spreading throughout the country (Chowdhury & Moore 2017).
Scientists agree that we cannot meet global climate targets without changing how we use the world’s land and oceans; we must decrease carbon sources and increase sinks (IPCC 2019). However, we cannot rely solely on NbS to achieve net-zero emissions: we must radically reduce emissions, especially from the energy sector, and remove CO2 from the air using technologies in addition to NbS (IPCC 2018, Griscom et al., 2019).
NbS are also central for helping societies adapt to climate change, often providing more affordable adaptation options than man-made infrastructure, whilst also benefiting biodiversity (Seddon et al. 2020). For example, ecosystem restoration can reduce erosion and landslides, prevent inland and coastal flooding, and improve water quality. Meanwhile, urban nature can cool cities, reduce air pollution, and provide health & wellbeing benefits (Hobbie & Grimm 2020).
NbS are on the rise on the climate policy agenda, but to implement them at scale there are three key areas that require improvement
- Measurement of the effectiveness of NbS
- Mechanisms for financing and valuing NbS
- Governance which embraces a diverse set of climate policies, rather than being held in the inertia of man-made solutions (Seddon et al. 2020).
Explore the Nature-based Solutions Initiative website to learn more about the values and limits of NbS.
- Griscom, B.W., et al. Natural climate solutions, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 114, 11645– 11650, 2017.
- Griscom, B.W., et al. We need both natural and energy solutions to stabilize our climate. Global Change Biology, 25 (6), 2019.
- Griscom, B. W., et al. National mitigation potential from natural climate solutions in the tropics, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 2020.
- Seddon, N., Turner, B., Berry, P., Chausson, A., Girardin, C., Grounding nature-based climate solutions in sound biodiversity science. Nature Climate Change 9, 84–87 (2019).
- Seddon, N., et al. Understanding the value and limits to Nature-based Solutions to climate change and other global challenges. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (2020).
- Chowdhury & Moore 2017
- IPCC 2019
- IPCC 2018