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Nature-based Solutions (NbS)

“Nature-based solutions” (NbS) involve working with and enhancing nature to help address societal challenges, such as climate change adaptation, food security or natural disasters, by working with ecosystems and the services they provide (Seddon et al. 2020a: 2; Cohen-Shacham et al. 2016: 2). The term can be considered as an umbrella concept for other established “nature-based” approaches, such as ecosystem-based adaptation and ecosystem based mitigation, ecodisaster risk reduction and green infrastructure (Seddon et al. 2020a: 2). NbS is not only used by scientists but is an important concept in policy-making as well. Recent literature on NbS often refers to the definitions of the European Commission (EC) or the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The latter defines NbS as: “Actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits” (Cohen-Shacham et al. 2016: 2). Adding to this widely-adopted definition, we stress that indigenous and/or local knowledge must be taken into account when researching, designing and implementing nature-based solutions. Following the guiding principles identified by Seddon et al. (2020b: 1518), NbS should be implemented with the full engagement and consent of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in a way that respects their cultural and ecological rights. Beyond that, we see great potential for sustainable development in combining indigenous and local knowledge with approaches developed on the basis of scientific research. 



Cohen-Shacham E, Walters G, Janzen C and Maginnis S (2016) Nature-based Solutions to address global societal challenges. Gland, Switzerland IUCN. 


Seddon N, Chausson A, Berry P, Girardin CAJ, Smith A, Turner B (2020a) Understanding the value and limits of nature-based solutions to climate change and other global challenges. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 375: 20190120.20190120. 


Seddon N, Smith A, Smith P, et al. (2020b) Getting the message right on nature-based solutions to climate change. Glob Change Biol. 27:1518–1546.