Nature-based Solutions for Climate Resilience

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) has become a buzz term recently but it is actually something we have been doing for a very long time.

When implementing Nature-based Solutions, we look at a problem we have and how nature can help us solve this problem. The focus is on “us”. NbS have a real emphasis on societal challenges that we face today  like flooding, water scarcity, or soil erosion.

For example, instead of building a seawall or a dam to protect from climate risks, Nature-based solutions could include restoring and conserving coral reefs and mangrove belts. They will act as a first line of defense and will dissipate up to 95% of wave energy, increasing the resilience to coastal flooding and sea level rise. Nature is an essential tool for addressing the threats to climate, biodiversity and sustainable development.

NbS are often cheaper than traditional solutions. Cheaper to install and in the long run.  As a living system, they can become self-sustaining over time reducing the costs of maintenance.

nature based solutions

The picture was taken in 2014 when I was surveying one of our NbS projects in the Bahamas. We deployed one of the largest artificial reefs in the Bahamas to protect against shore erosion. Across the Caribbean, NbS could play a significant role in ensuring climate resilience, and would bring substantial additional co-benefits including: improved management of natural capital; maintaining or enhancing greenhouse gas sinks; and a range of other regulating, supporting, provisioning, and cultural ecosystem services.

So why isn’t it implemented more often?

The IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) has identified several barriers. For example, the management of nature and ecosystem services typically resides in the Ministry of Environment, while decisions concerning infrastructure tend to be made in Ministries of Planning and Finance. This can mean that options such as NbS aren’t always considered in early stage planning and procurement processes for infrastructure.

Follow the link to learn more and download the IDB report: