Complementary ideas for the implementation of nature-based solutions

Del Pino, D. P., & Marquez, J. F. | Environmental Science & Policy | 2023 | Peer Reviewed | Original research |


This study explores the gap between theoretical frameworks of Nature-Based Solutions (NbS) and current NbS interventions. Despite the existence of well-established definitions and practical tools, there are still organizations that implement NbS according to their own interpretations, creating gaps in the way practitioners apply these solutions. Four main gaps were identified: Framing of priorities to address an outcome, measurability and effectiveness of interventions, alignment with transformational governance processes, and understanding of trade-offs. By collecting the perception of NbS practitioners mainly focused on Africa, Europe, Latin America through a structured online survey, the results showed that five main ideas can help close these gaps: (1) designing NbS to address local problems that subsequently address societal challenges may be a more effective framing than targeting interventions to societal challenges that may not capture local stakeholder priorities; (2) interventions should consider both qualitative and quantitative impact-oriented indicators to learn from practice, and establish robust interventions and confidence in NbS; (3) transformative NbS processes must incorporate pluralistic assessment in interventions, attending to distributive, recognition, and procedural justice; (4) systemic socioeconomic and institutional barriers are not exclusively within the power of practitioners to fix but they must be addressed to achieve transformative NbS processes; (5) certain types of governance, scale, and cost-benefit trade-offs may not be fully understood and remain elusive, but they are still important to identify, to integrate and negotiate trade-offs in NbS implementation. We urge NbS practitioners and formulators of the concept to consider these ideas when implementing NbS.