What is it about?

Governments and policymakers seem to be game for adopting nature-based solutions (NbS) to tackling climate change—such as restoring wet-lands, the reforestation of agricultural lands, replenishing corals, or even creating artificial ecosystems such as tropical rainforests on formerly grass-land areas. But, these interventions aren’t seeing effective widespread application yet. A major reason is the paucity of an evidence base in the literature to adequately support and guide their implementation. This study conducts a literature review of studies on NbS to map the existing evidence base and finds interesting trends: Most interventions in natural or semi-natural environments alleviated the impacts of climate change on those environments. But in created ecosystems, trade-offs be-tween several benefits and a disruption can exist. Yet overall, NbS were as effective as engineered alternatives, if not more. However, there was a skew in the amount of evidence gathered in the Global North versus the Global South. Further, few studies looked at cost-effectiveness or a broader integrated socio-economic and ecological impact of an intervention.

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Why is it important?

NbS can have multiple simultaneous benefits in terms of reducing climate change impact. They are a key part of building truly resilient societies. But to effectively implement NbS, particularly in more vulnerable communities such as those in the Global South, there needs to first be a robust evidence base for the effectiveness of these interventions. Reviewing the existing evidence base is the first step towards identifying the strengths of and gaps in these interventions so that targeted advancements may follow. KEY TAKEAWAY A robust evidence base is needed to assess the effectiveness of NbS for resilience against the impacts of climate change across all societies, geographies, and climatic conditions worldwide.

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This page is a summary of: Mapping the effectiveness of nature‐based solutions for climate change adaptation, Global Change Biology, September 2020, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15310.
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