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A Hub for online resources on NbS state-of-the-art practise.

NbS Resources

Natural infrastructure investment and implications for the nexus: A global overviewArticle

As deeply interlinked challenges to water, energy, and food security appear poised to accelerate in the coming decades, interest has grown in landscape-based approaches to manage water-energy-food (W-E-F) nexus risks and trade-offs. Both engineered and "natural infrastructure" approaches are needed to increase productivity and resilience in W-E-F systems and to meet pressures of a growing global population and changing climate. However, to date little information exists about the use of nature-based solutions globally, the scale of present investment, funders' motives, or observed results. This paper uses data from a global survey of watershed investments to examine the state of investment in "natural infrastructure"-based solutions for water, which can also address nexus challenges. We find that at least US $1 billion (B) flowed to watershed investment programs tackling nexus risks and trade-offs in 2013. But attention is focused largely on agricultural impacts on water and driven mainly by water service providers and the public sector. Our preliminary findings suggest that potential funders may be unaware of, or constrained in their ability to implement, nature-based strategies to address nexus-related challenges, and that current investment likely does not match the scale of risk or dependency of our W-E-F systems on healthy landscapes. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2015.05.006

Actions: Enhancing Ecosystems' Insurance Value, Sustainable use of Matter & Energy

Goals: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

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Managing wetlands for disaster risk reduction: A case study of the eastern Free State, South AfricaArticle

This article investigated the knowledge and practice of a nature-based solution to reduce disaster risks of drought, veld fires and floods using wetlands in the eastern Free State, South Africa. A mixed research method approach was used to collect primary data using three data collection tools, namely questionnaires, interviews and field observations. Ninety-five wetlands under communal and private ownership as well as a few in protected areas were sampled, with their users completing questionnaires. The study showed that communal wetlands were more degraded, while wetlands in protected areas and in private commercial farms were in a good ecological state. An extensive literature review reveals that healthy wetlands are effective buffers in reducing disaster risks such as drought, veld fires and floods which are recurrent in the study area. Therefore, through better land-use and management practices, backed by education and awareness, wetlands could be good instruments to mitigate recurrent natural hazards in the agriculturally dominated eastern Free State in South Africa. © 2018. The Authors.

Link: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v10i1.400

Actions: Coastal Resilience, Watershed Management & Ecosystem Restoration

Goals: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Restoring Degraded Ecosystems Using NbS, Risk Management and Resilience

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A spatial framework for targeting urban planning for pollinators and people with local stakeholders: A route to healthy, blossoming communities?Article

Pollinators such as bees and hoverflies are essential components of an urban ecosystem, supporting and contributing to the biodiversity, functioning, resilience and visual amenity of green infrastructure. Their urban habitats also deliver health and well-being benefits to society, by providing important opportunities for accessing nature nearby to the homes of a growing majority of people living in towns and cities. However, many pollinator species are in decline, and the loss, degradation and fragmentation of natural habitats are some of the key drivers of this change. Urban planners and other practitioners need evidence to carefully prioritise where they focus their resources to provide and maintain a high quality, multifunctional green infrastructure network that supports pollinators and people. We provide a modelling framework to inform green infrastructure planning as a nature based solution with social and ecological benefits. We show how habitat suitability models (HSM) incorporating remote sensed vegetation data can provide important information on the influence of urban landcover composition and spatial configuration on species distributions across cities. Using Edinburgh, Scotland, as a case study city, we demonstrate this approach for bumble bees and hoverflies, providing high resolution predictive maps that identify pollinator habitat hotspots and pinch points across the city. By combining this spatial HSM output with health deprivation data, we highlight ‘win-win’ opportunity areas in most need of improved green infrastructure to support pollinator habitat quality and connectivity, as well as societal health and well-being. In addition, in collaboration with municipal planners, local stakeholders, and partners from a local greenspace learning alliance, we identified opportunities for citizen engagement activities to encourage interest in wildlife gardening as part of a ‘pollinator pledge’. We conclude that this quantitative, spatially explicit and transferable approach provides a useful decision-making tool for targeting nature-based solutions to improve biodiversity and increase environmental stewardship, with the aim of providing a more attractive city to live, work and invest in. © 2017

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2017.06.023

Actions: Carbon Sequestration, Sustainable use of Matter & Energy, Urban Regeneration, Well-being in Urban Areas

Goals: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Sustainable Urbanisation in cities

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Ecosystem services must tackle anthropized ecosystems and ecological engineeringArticle

The notion of ecosystem service is meant to better link human societies to ecological systems and to serve has a tool for decision making. However, the notion has never been applied in a comprehensive and consistent way to anthropized ecosystems while most ecosystems are indeed anthropized. This means that in initiatives of ecosystem service assessment anthropized ecosystems are either neglected or their services assessed in a misleading way. For example, services from cultivated lands are usually valued through the value of the agricultural production, while this production highly depends on inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, non-renewable sources of energy) and human work that cannot be assimilated to ecological factors. Moreover, these practices have negative impacts such as the emission of greenhouse gases, nutrient leaching to other ecosystems or loss of soil fertility. Hence, we present here a general framework that could be used to assess the ecosystem services provided by anthropized ecosystems. This framework is based on the joint assessment of ecological services, disservices, losses of natural capital and impacts on other ecosystems. We show that this framework is required to assess different practices to manipulate an ecosystem, e.g. low- vs high-input agriculture, or different ecosystems with different levels of anthropization, e.g. manage forest vs. cropland. Indeed, ecosystems function in such a complex way that human manipulations and natural ecological processes are tightly intermingled so that services and disservices arising solely from ecological processes cannot be separated from the result of human manipulations. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2016.11.071

Actions: Enhancing Ecosystems' Insurance Value

Goals: Restoring Degraded Ecosystems Using NbS

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Urban forest research in the Mediterranean: A systematic reviewArticle

The Mediterranean region is facing many challenges, some of which can be addressed by nature-based solutions such as urban forests and green space. However, at best, urban forest research from Mediterranean countries has been only briefly addressed in review papers up to date. This Scopus-based review paper provides first insights into the development of urban forest research in the Mediterranean in the 20-year period from 1996 to 2015. The purpose of the review was to a) analyse distribution of urban forest research in the Mediterranean and identify countries that are forerunners based on the number of publications, b) to analyse distribution of research themes across the Mediterranean and per country, and hence point to research gaps and needs. Researchers from Italy, Turkey and Spain were the most productive in the analysed period. Research is mainly concentrated in the North, while it is scarce to non-existent in South and Eastern Mediterranean countries (excluding Turkey and Greece). Papers dealing with pollution, human health and sociocultural values were the most frequent. Some countries exhibited research specialisation with regard to certain themes. For instance Italian researchers mostly focused on topics related to pollution and urban forest management, the majority of Spanish papers addressed urban forests in the context of human health, while sociocultural values were the main research theme for researchers from Turkey. Papers were analysed also based on research methods, approaches and study locations. Suggested future research includes analysis of the quality of knowledge related to urban forests in the Mediterranean as well as of collaboration between researchers, research institutions and countries. © 2018 Elsevier GmbH

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2018.03.005

Actions: Carbon Sequestration, Urban Regeneration, Well-being in Urban Areas

Goals: Restoring Degraded Ecosystems Using NbS, Sustainable Urbanisation in cities

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Betting against Human Ingenuity: The Perils of the Economic Valuation of Nature's ServicesArticle

At the turn of the twentieth century, economic ornithologists focused on the monetary value of services provided by birds in order to fit nature conservation into the dominant economic paradigm. Pest control was of key interest because of its political importance and because it was relatively easy to quantify and monetize. However, this particular service became obsolete when a human-made solution was introduced that performed the same service - seemingly more cost effectively and reliably - undermining the political standing of economic ornithology. The broader external costs related to the replacement of birds' services by industrial pesticides were only discovered later. With their focus on the individual benefits that people derive from nature or even bundles of such benefits, the concepts of ecosystem services, the valuation of ecosystem services, and nature-based solutions expose nature conservation to similar risks, of which we may not yet be aware. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biv135

Actions: Enhancing Ecosystems' Insurance Value, Watershed Management & Ecosystem Restoration

Goals: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Restoring Degraded Ecosystems Using NbS, Risk Management and Resilience, Sustainable Urbanisation in cities

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Edible green infrastructure: An approach and review of provisioning ecosystem services and disservices in urban environmentsArticle

Recently published green infrastructure, nature-based solutions, and ecosystem disservices (ED) literature have focused primarily on the supply of urban regulating and cultural ecosystem services (ES). Other literature on urban and peri-urban agriculture has mostly studied the role of localized, intensive agricultural practices in providing food to inhabitants. The aim of this review is to raise awareness and stress the knowledge gap on the importance of urban provisioning ES, particularly when implementing an edible green infrastructure (EGI) approach as it can offer improved resilience and quality of life in cities. We compiled and systematically analyzed studies on urban ES and ED related to a number of EGI typologies. Our systematic review of the relevant literature via an EGI framework, identified more than 80 peer-reviewed publications that focused on ES and food production in urban areas. An EGI approach can contribute socially, economically, and environmentally to urban sustainability and food security. However, such benefits must be weighed against ED trade-offs, including: potential health risks caused by human exposure to heavy metals and organic chemical contaminants often present in urban surroundings. We conclude with recommendations and guidelines for incorporating EGI into urban planning and design, and discuss novel areas for future research. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2017.03.026

Actions: Carbon Sequestration, Sustainable use of Matter & Energy, Urban Regeneration, Well-being in Urban Areas

Goals: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Sustainable Urbanisation in cities

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Five decades of soil erosion research in “terroir”. The State-of-the-ArtArticle

Although soil erosion in vineyards is key to understanding the sustainability of agricultural management, there is not a worldwide definitive state-of-the-art review. It is accepted that soil erosion in vineyards has been more a scientific issue than an agronomic and environmental concern, and this review will point out key issues that will allow the designing of new and advanced research projects. It is demonstrated that soil erosion in vineyards is well assessed in the scientific literature with a diverse array of studies in Europe, but there is a lack of similar studies on other continents such as America and Oceania and no research in Africa or Asia. Chile and Germany were the pioneer research countries with professors Gerold Richter and Riquelme Chaparro leading early erosion work in vineyards, but the most surveyed countries are France, Italy and Spain, with Greece and Germany also having a large number of studies. Most of the research has been based on modelling, rainfall simulation and erosion plots. The survey concludes that soil erosion rates in vineyards are higher than those in other land uses and represents a worldwide threat to sustainability in vineyards. This is due to intense tillage, planting of vineyards on steep slopes and in poor soils. There is a need to find management practices that are socially and economically acceptable to farmers and that will achieve sustainability through reduction of soil losses via nature-based solutions. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2018.02.014

Actions: Sustainable use of Matter & Energy, Watershed Management & Ecosystem Restoration

Goals: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Restoring Degraded Ecosystems Using NbS, Risk Management and Resilience

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Marine reserves can mitigate and promote adaptation to climate changeArticle

Strong decreases in greenhouse gas emissions are required to meet the reduction trajectory resolved within the 2015 Paris Agreement. However, even these decreases will not avert serious stress and damage to life on Earth, and additional steps are needed to boost the resilience of ecosystems, safeguard their wildlife, and protect their capacity to supply vital goods and services. We discuss how well-managed marine reserves may help marine ecosystems and people adapt to five prominent impacts of climate change: Acidification, sea-level rise, intensification of storms, shifts in species distribution, and decreased productivity and oxygen availability, as well as their cumulative effects. We explore the role of managed ecosystems in mitigating climate change by promoting carbon sequestration and storage and by buffering against uncertainty in management, environmental fluctuations, directional change, and extreme events. We highlight both strengths and limitations and conclude that marine reserves are a viable low-Tech, costeffective adaptation strategy that would yield multiple cobenefits from local to global scales, improving the outlook for the environment and people into the future.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1701262114

Actions: Carbon Sequestration, Coastal Resilience, Enhancing Ecosystems' Insurance Value, Watershed Management & Ecosystem Restoration

Goals: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Risk Management and Resilience

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Cascades of green: A review of ecosystem-based adaptation in urban areasArticle

Climate change impacts increase pressure on challenges to sustainability and the developmental needs of cities. Conventional, "hard" adaptation measures are often associated with high costs, inflexibility and conflicting interests related to the dense urban fabric, and ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) has emerged as a potentially cost-efficient, comprehensive, and multifunctional approach. This paper reviews and systematises research on urban EbA. We propose an analytical framework that draws on theory from ecosystem services, climate change adaptation and sustainability science. It conceptualises EbA in terms of five linked components: ecological structures, ecological functions, adaptation benefits, valuation, and ecosystem management practices.Our review identified 110 articles, reporting on 112 cities, and analysed them using both quantitative statistical and qualitative content analysis. We found that EbA research in an urban context is fragmented due to different disciplinary approaches and concepts. Most articles focus on heat or flooding, and the most studied ecological structures for reducing the risk of such hazards are green space, wetlands, trees and parks. EbA is usually evaluated in bio-geophysical terms and the use of economic or social valuations are rare. While most articles do not mention specific practices for managing ecological structures, those that do imply that urban EbA strategies are increasingly being integrated into institutional structures. Few articles considered issues of equity or stakeholder participation in EbA.We identified the following challenges for future EbA research. First, while the large amount of data generated by isolated case studies contributes to systems knowledge, there is a lack of systems perspectives that position EbA in relation to the wider socio-economic and bio-geophysical context. Second, normative and ethical aspects of EbA require more thought, such as who are the winners and losers, especially in relation to processes that put people at risk from climate-related hazards. Third, there is room for more forward-looking EbA research, including consideration of future scenarios, experimentation in the creation of new ecological structures and the role of EbA in transformative adaptation. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.11.003

Actions: Sustainable use of Matter & Energy, Urban Regeneration, Well-being in Urban Areas

Goals: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Sustainable Urbanisation in cities

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