Nature-based solutions (NBS) refer to actions or approaches that utilize nature or natural processes to address environmental challenges and provide sustainable solutions. NBS are designed to simultaneously deliver benefits for both human well-being and the conservation and restoration of ecosystems.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines nature-based solutions as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively while simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.”
Nature-based solutions can take various forms, including:
- Ecosystem Restoration: Restoring degraded ecosystems, such as forests, wetlands, or coastal areas, to improve biodiversity, enhance ecosystem services, and mitigate environmental problems.
- Green Infrastructure: Planning and implementing natural features, such as parks, green roofs, urban forests, or vegetated swales, to manage stormwater, reduce urban heat island effects, and improve air quality.
- Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry: Promoting sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices that enhance soil health, reduce chemical inputs, and protect biodiversity. Similarly, sustainable forestry practices aim to manage forests in a way that balances timber production, biodiversity conservation, and carbon sequestration.
- Coastal and Marine Conservation: Protecting and restoring coastal and marine ecosystems, such as mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass meadows, to mitigate coastal erosion, enhance fisheries, and provide coastal defense against storms.
- Natural Flood Management: Implementing measures that utilize natural features, such as floodplains, wetlands, or reforestation, to manage and reduce flood risks by absorbing and storing excess water.
- Biodiversity Conservation: Protecting and preserving natural habitats and biodiversity through the establishment and management of protected areas and wildlife corridors.
Nature-based solutions are increasingly recognized as effective and sustainable approaches to tackling various environmental challenges, including climate change mitigation and adaptation, water management, disaster risk reduction, and biodiversity conservation. They offer multiple benefits by harnessing the power of nature, enhancing ecosystem services, and promoting human well-being in harmony with the natural environment.