Key Considerations for the Use of Nature-Based Solutions in Climate Services and Adaptation
Nature-based solutions (NbS) involve the reliance on natural or nature-based systems to enhance community resilience through delivering both climate adaptation and mitigation outcomes. While NbS do not necessarily represent new “technology” or methods, the intentional incorporation of these approaches into climate adaptation and mitigation efforts is often considered novel, particularly within the climate services sector where interventions have historically prioritized structural infrastructure approaches.
NbS can offer an effective replacement for or complement to such traditional infrastructure approaches. Additionally, natural and nature-based systems can respond to climate change in a manner that engineered solutions often cannot, providing long-term holistic adaptation and mitigation success with additional benefits to ecosystem services such as improved air and water quality, carbon sequestration, outdoor recreation, and biodiversity protection. The incorporation of NbS as a core component of climate services increases the likelihood of adoption and effective implementation, ensuring greater long-term effectiveness for both communities and the natural systems on which they depend.
This article supports the adoption and effective implementation of NbS by climate service providers through presenting a set of seven “key considerations” for their use in community-based adaptation. These key considerations are based on a review of work in the field to date, both within the United States and globally. Although these key considerations were developed in support of US adaptation planning applications (specifically, the US Climate Resilience Toolkit), they have global relevance.