Q. What are Nature-Based Solutions?
- Nature-based solutions (NBS) refer to the sustainable management and use of nature for tackling socio-environmental challenges.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines NbS as actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.
- It is further associated with other sector-specific terms like green infrastructure, natural infrastructure, ecological engineering, ecosystem-based mitigation, ecosystem-based adaptation, and ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction.
- NbS creates harmony between people and nature, enables ecological development, and represents a holistic, people-centered response to climate change.
- Also, NbS are an essential component of the overall global effort to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
- In its essence, Article 5.2 of the Paris Agreement recognizes the importance of natural resources in climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
- Article 7 further promotes the idea of building the resilience of socioeconomic and ecological systems through economic diversification and sustainable management of natural resources.
Q. What are some of the example of Nature-Based Solutions?A
- Helping Local People: NbS has been very successful in helping local people to deal with the impacts of climate change, improving ecosystem services, and storing carbon.
- For example, the restoration project in the Lake District National Park, United Kingdom was successful in improving not just the local biodiversity but also brought with it revenue generation by way of increased tourism.
- NbS for Disaster Reduction: Restoration or protection of mangroves along coastlines utilizes a nature-based solution to accomplish several things.
- Mangroves moderate the impact of waves and wind on coastal settlements or cities and sequester CO2.
- They also provide safe nurseries for marine life that can be the basis for sustaining populations of fish that local populations depend on.
- Additionally, the mangrove forests can help control coastal erosion resulting from sea-level rise.
- Addressing Urban Issues: In addition to NbS being used for restoring ecosystems, it can also be used in combination with man-made infrastructure in cities to benefit human health and urban biodiversity.
- Similarly, in cities, green roofs or walls are nature-based solutions that can be used to moderate the impact of high temperatures, capture stormwater, abate pollution, and act as carbon sinks, while enhancing biodiversity.
- Creating permeable lesser concrete areas to help replenish groundwater in regions facing water scarcity.
- Large hotels and resorts can effectively pioneer solutions such as artificial wetlands for water recycling, which would also add to the local landscape’s aesthetics.
Q. What is the need For NbS?
Climate change presents one of the greatest challenges to mankind today. Both cities and natural ecosystems have the most to lose as far as climate change impacts are concerned.
- Growing Vulnerabilities of Cities: The vulnerability of cities, in particular, is further aggravated by added complexities of land-use change, the density of population, increased concretization, social inequalities, poor air quality, and several other associated issues.
- This poses a serious challenge to human health, social well-being, and quality of life, especially for the underprivileged classes of society.
- Risk to Natural Ecosystem: Natural ecosystem losses such as loss of biodiversity, depletion of water resources, etc. have similarly been well documented.
- To overcome or minimize the impacts of climate change, the idea of local-led adaptation has been widely discussed, which directs us to NbS.