Harnessing nature-based solutions to respond to climate breakdown

In a new review published today, Professor Nathalie Seddon, Director of the Nature-based Solutions Initiative, brings together the latest evidence on the value and limits of nature-based solutions, highlighting critical areas for future research.

In the article, Nathalie synthesises the research and ongoing projects that work within the nature-based solution umbrella. She examines their different outcomes for climate change mitigation and adaptation, alongside impacts on biodiversity and peoples’ livelihoods.

“Nature-based solutions are actions that involve people working with nature, as part of nature, to address societal challenges, providing benefits for both human well-being and biodiversity”

Nathalie Seddon

Some of the key recommendations and insights of the review are:

  • Nature-based solutions must be designed, implemented and monitored by (or in close partnership with) Indigenous peoples and local communities.
  • Nature-based solutions should prioritise protecting intact ecosystems and approaches that allow ecosystems to reach their full potential with minimal intervention.
  • Policy regulation of nature-based solutions-related carbon offsetting should restrict investment to organisations with ambitious, robust and verifiable action plans to phase out fossil fuel use.
  • The long-term integrity of nature-based solutions requires an improved evidence base that brings together different knowledges and perspectives from social and natural scientists and, crucially, Indigenous peoples and local communities.

Overall, the review concludes that nature-based solutions can make an important contribution to reaching net-zero carbon emissions this century, but only if combined with other climate solutions, including substantial cuts in GHG emissions across all sectors of the economy.

“Achieving net-zero carbon emissions and transitioning to a nature-positive economy will also require systemic change in the way we behave as societies and run our economies, shifting to a dominant worldview that is based on valuing quality of life and human well-being rather than material wealth, and connection with nature rather than its conquest”

Nathalie Seddon

To read the review, published in Science, please visit: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abn9668

To hear Nathalie talking about nature-based solutions, listen to the Science podcast: https://www.science.org/content/podcast/using-waste-fuel-airplanes-nature-based-climate-solutions-and-book-indigenous