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ALTER-Net: A Long-Term Biodiversity, Ecosystem and Awareness Research Network

Europe’s ecosystem research network


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ALTER-Net team publishes paper on nature-based solutions

New publication provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the science, policy and practice of nature-based solutions
ALTER-Net team publishes paper on nature-based solutions

Photo: Marie van der Walle


A 17-strong team of colleagues from 12 ALTER-Net partner organisations has written a paper on nature-based solutions. The paper, which is published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, considers the implications for science, policy and practice of the recently introduced concept of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS), with a focus on the European context.

The team analysed NBS in relation to similar concepts, and, in the paper, they reflect on its relationship to sustainability as an overarching framework. From this, they derive a set of questions to be addressed and propose a general framework for how these might be addressed in NBS projects by funders, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners.

Among the team's conclusions, they assert that the strength of the NBS concept is its integrative, systemic approach which prevents it from becoming just another “green communication tool” that provides justification for a classical model of natural resource exploitation and management measures. They also argue that, to realise their full potential, NBS must be developed by including the experience of all relevant stakeholders such that ‘solutions’ contribute to achieving all dimensions of sustainability. Furthermore, as NBS are developed, we must also moderate the expectations placed on them, since the precedent provided by other initiatives whose aim was to manage nature sustainably demonstrates that we should not expect NBS to be cheap and easy, at least not in the short-term.

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