Nature-based solutions are interventions that work with nature to sequester carbon, enhance biodiversity, and improve resilience to the effects of extreme weather — ranging from flooding to extreme heat.
Done the right way and in the right place, they can also produce a range of economic, environmental, and social benefits. Water security, reduced heat stress, and cleaner air, as well as healthier and more attractive environments for living, are just some of the co-benefits that nature-based solutions can provide. Examples include these
- Restoring bends in rivers, planting vegetation, changing the way land is managed to enable soils to absorb more water, maintaining flood plains and creating salt marshes, mangrove plantations, and undersea kelp forests on the coast all help to naturally manage floods and communities to better adapt to the weather-related effects of climate change.
- Creating and restoring forests and woodlands helps combat soil erosion and sediment transfer, mitigates climate change by capturing and storing carbon, improves water quality, and regenerates natural habitats in the process.
- Introducing vegetation into towns and cities — from trees in streets to green walls and roofs, and small “pocket parks” — can support healthier communities by improving air quality, providing recreational spaces, and reducing the urban heat island effect.
Nature-based solutions can complement or substitute for some or all of the functionality provided by traditional engineered solutions. And better than that, nature-based solutions are multifunctional, delivering diverse social, environmental, and economic co-benefits.
More benefits, better outcomes
We work in sectors where nature-based solutions are already being used. Our projects help to address issues such as flood management, water and air quality, erosion control and slope stability, health and well-being, and to deliver carbon sequestration.
We use a wealth of knowledge gained on projects, using both traditional and nature-based solutions combined with cutting-edge digital tools to assess the options for nature-based solutions to meet our clients’ needs and challenges.
Decision-support tools, such as Stanford University’s InVEST, enable us to weigh the benefits and support the business case, and place a value on the co-benefits, including carbon sequestration, environmental net-gain, habitat creation, and social and economic outcomes.
By looking at how nature-based solutions connect with the world around them, whether that is the natural, human, or built environments — what we call taking a systems view — we are better able to achieve the best overall solutions for our clients and their end users.
We can help you
- Identify multiple outcomes. Through a thorough understanding of policy needs, program or project objectives, and other drivers we can help you identify multiple desired outcomes that nature-based solutions could achieve or contribute to.
- Develop your strategy. By engaging all stakeholders, we support the delivery of a strategy to maximize the benefits and ensure the outcomes are inclusive.
- Identify and appraise options. We use rapid assessment tools, ecosystem services assessments, and natural capital accounting to identify and test various options to find the best or preferred ones.
- Develop your business case. To deliver your business case, we weigh strategic, economic, commercial, financial, and management considerations, and assess and incorporate the monetized value of ecosystem services into our cost/benefit analyses.
- Identify blended finance opportunities. By identifying all stakeholders who will benefit or can contribute, as well as considering payment for ecosystem services, carbon offsetting, and biodiversity net gain credits, for example, we can help maximize your financing options.
- Identify your preferred option. Weighing technical, commercial, social, and environmental considerations alongside carbon sequestration and resilience, we can help you select the best nature-based solutions and optimize your investment program. This process can be assisted by GIS mapping, natural capital accounting, and multicriteria decision tools.
- Design and implement the solution. We analyze, model, and design the solution, prepare the delivery plan, and work with contractors, partners, and communities to carry out construction.
- Plan for operation and maintenance. We develop a logframe of goals, activities, and outcomes to enable you to assess the solution’s ongoing performance. Our key performance indicators will help you manage risks as well as evaluate performance. We can also help you to gather evidence and apply lessons learned.