Download a summary of the British Ecological Society’s 2021 report on nature-based solutions.
Nature-based solutions (NbS) address societal problems in ways that benefit both people and nature. The main focus of this report is the joint role of NbS for addressing the climate and biodiversity crises we currently face.
Natural habitats act as NbS for climate if they sequester carbon (contributing to Net Zero targets) or provide adaptation to climate change effects (for example, reducing flooding, protecting coastline against sea-level rise or creating cool spaces in cities).
As well as these climate benefits, they can enhance biodiversity, create improved and more resilient ecosystem functioning, enhance human wellbeing and provide economic benefits, in terms of monetary value and job creation.
Despite the huge range of benefits NbS have, they should be seen as complementary to other climate and conservation actions, not as a replacement to them.
NbS have great potential to tackle the two defining crises of our age. The BES report provides examples of opportunities for NbS across a range of habitats, as well as discussion of some of the complexities involved in planning for NbS.
The report also outlines a detailed analysis of the tools, financial mechanisms and policies required for effective delivery in a UK context. Policy change will be necessary to overcome some of the challenges associated with NbS and to ensure that they fulfil their potential, yet the rewards are vital in meeting national climate change and biodiversity targets.
The Executive Summary provides five key themes which emerge across the report, across the multiple habitats and multiple NbS studied. Six ‘priority’ habitats for NbS are given at the end of the summary. However, we emphasise that all habitats covered in the report can act as NbS and all can play a role in addressing the climate and biodiversity crises.
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