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NbS Resources

Overcoming water challenges through nature-based solutionsArticle

Freshwater is a key resource and medium for various economic sectors and domestic purposes but its use is often at the expense of natural ecosystems. Water management must change to deal with urgent issues and protect aquatic ecosystems and their services, while addressing the demand for water from the competing claims for cities, agriculture, industry, energy and transport. In this paper key water challenges (shortage, pollution, aquatic ecosystems threatened) have been identified via global modelling. By the IMAGE-GLOBIO model chain a Trend scenario up to 2050 was modelled, as well as the potential of three 'pathways' aimed at halving average global biodiversity loss while also meeting the sustainable development goals. Biodiversity is then used as a guiding principle to address these challenges because water services depend on healthy and biodiverse ecosystems. Subsequently the potential of nature-based solutions is reviewed for four sub-sectors: cities, food production, hydropower, and flood protection, grouped under the three alternative pathways to meet key water challenges. Mainstreaming biodiversity into water policy requires integrated planning. Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) could provide an opportune starting point as a well recognised integrating framework for planning, to guide the actual implementation of nature-based solutions in sub-sectors. © IWA Publishing 2017.

Link: https://doi.org/10.2166/wp.2017.105

Actions: Enhancing Ecosystems' Insurance Value, Sustainable use of Matter & Energy, Watershed Management & Ecosystem Restoration

Ecosystem Services:

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

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Regions:

How could companies engage in sustainable landscape management? An exploratory perspectiveArticle

Current concepts that aim to align economic development with sustainability, such as the circular and green economy, often consider natural systems as externalities. We extend the green economy concept by including the landscape as the provider of social, economic and environmental values. Our aim is to explore how companies could engage in creating landscape-inclusive solutions for sustainable landscapes. We propose a conceptual model of the relationship between companies and landscape services based on a demand for landscape benefits by companies, implications for wider society. We present a short overview of how scientists addressed the role of companies in landscape-inclusive solutions. We also give some examples taken from the WorldWideWeb to illustrate the variety of ways in which companies already invest in landscape services. Our findings suggest that the relationship between companies and landscapes is not yet strongly recognized in sustainability science. However, examples from practice show that some companies do recognize the added values of landscape services, to the extent that they invest in landscape management. We conclude that future research should provide information on the added value of landscape-inclusive solutions to companies, and increase their capacity to engage in regional social-ecological networks. © 2018 by the authors.

Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010220

Actions: Enhancing Ecosystems' Insurance Value, Sustainable use of Matter & Energy, Watershed Management & Ecosystem Restoration

Ecosystem Services:

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

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Regions:

The Soil Value Exchange: Unlocking nature’s value via the marketArticle

As the reality of a carbon-neutral market and future takes form, all available resources will need to be focused upon removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In this regard, no alternative is more promising today than nature-based solutions. Restoration of native ecosystems and the use of management concepts such as adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) grazing for ranchland have the potential to reliably store vast amounts of carbon in near-surface soil at very low cost. If only half of the existing US grazing lands is managed differently than now, these healthy soils could store from 10 to 23 percent of US carbon dioxide emissions every year. Moreover, healthy soils will significantly enhance the economic profitability and drought and flood resilience of ranches. To date, no trading system meets the needs and requirements of the private landowners that control the land that has the ability to sequester these immense amounts of carbon dioxide. The Soil Value Exchange (SVX) is designed to support landowners as they manage their property to promote healthy soils and soil carbon storage by (1) implementing a soil-carbon trading system based on robust soil carbon measurements that works for land owners and carbon credit buyers, (2) providing grants for land management consultant support, and (3) providing grants to support soil carbon measurements. SVX has established collaborations with expert land consultancy organizations and has a goal of enabling the storage of 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year in 2024 and 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide credits each year in 2028. © 2018 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/00963402.2018.1461974

Actions: Carbon Sequestration, Sustainable use of Matter & Energy

Ecosystem Services:

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

Impacts:

Regions:

Drivers and trajectories of land cover change in East Africa: Human and environmental interactions from 6000 years ago to presentArticle

East African landscapes today are the result of the cumulative effects of climate and land-use change over millennial timescales. In this review, we compile archaeological and palaeoenvironmental data from East Africa to document land-cover change, and environmental, subsistence and land-use transitions, over the past 6000 years. Throughout East Africa there have been a series of relatively rapid and high-magnitude environmental shifts characterised by changing hydrological budgets during the mid- to late Holocene. For example, pronounced environmental shifts that manifested as a marked change in the rainfall amount or seasonality and subsequent hydrological budget throughout East Africa occurred around 4000, 800 and 300 radiocarbon years before present (yr BP). The past 6000 years have also seen numerous shifts in human interactions with East African ecologies. From the mid-Holocene, land use has both diversified and increased exponentially, this has been associated with the arrival of new subsistence systems, crops, migrants and technologies, all giving rise to a sequence of significant phases of land-cover change. The first large-scale human influences began to occur around 4000 yr BP, associated with the introduction of domesticated livestock and the expansion of pastoral communities. The first widespread and intensive forest clearances were associated with the arrival of iron-using early farming communities around 2500 yr BP, particularly in productive and easily-cleared mid-altitudinal areas. Extensive and pervasive land-cover change has been associated with population growth, immigration and movement of people. The expansion of trading routes between the interior and the coast, starting around 1300 years ago and intensifying in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries CE, was one such process. These caravan routes possibly acted as conduits for spreading New World crops such as maize (Zea mays), tobacco (Nicotiana spp.) and tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum), although the processes and timings of their introductions remains poorly documented. The introduction of southeast Asian domesticates, especially banana (Musa spp.), rice (Oryza spp.), taro (Colocasia esculenta), and chicken (Gallus gallus), via transoceanic biological transfers around and across the Indian Ocean, from at least around 1300 yr BP, and potentially significantly earlier, also had profound social and ecological consequences across parts of the region. Through an interdisciplinary synthesis of information and metadatasets, we explore the different drivers and directions of changes in land-cover, and the associated environmental histories and interactions with various cultures, technologies, and subsistence strategies through time and across space in East Africa. This review suggests topics for targeted future research that focus on areas and/or time periods where our understanding of the interactions between people, the environment and land-cover change are most contentious and/or poorly resolved. The review also offers a perspective on how knowledge of regional land-use change can be used to inform and provide perspectives on contemporary issues such as climate and ecosystem change models, conservation strategies, and the achievement of nature-based solutions for development purposes. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.12.010

Actions: Watershed Management & Ecosystem Restoration

Ecosystem Services:

Goals: Restoring Degraded Ecosystems Using NbS

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Urban natural environments as nature-based solutions for improved public health – A systematic review of reviewsArticle

Increasing urbanisation, changing disease scenarios, and current predictions of climate change impacts require innovative strategies for providing healthy and sustainable cities, now and in the future. The recently coined concept, Nature-based solutions (NBS), is one such strategy referring to actions that are inspired by, supported by, or copied from nature, designed to address a range of environmental challenges. The objective with this article is to evaluate the evidence on public health benefits of exposure to natural environments and explore how this knowledge could be framed within the NBS concept. We conducted a systematic review of reviews following established methodology, including keyword search in several databases, predefined inclusion criteria, and a data extraction in accordance with the PICOS structure. We reviewed literature on associations between public health and natural environments in relation to pathways – sociobehavioural/cultural ecosystem services (e.g. stress and physical activity) and regulating ecosystem services (e.g. heat reduction) – or defined health outcomes (e.g. cardiovascular mortality). The results show that there is strong evidence for improved affect as well as on heat reduction from urban natural environments. These conditions may mediate the effect seen on cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related mortality by exposure to natural environments. By also reviewing existing literature on NBS and health, we phrase the results within the NBS context, providing guidelines on how public health and well-being could be integrated into implementation of NBS for resilient and liveable urban landscapes and health in a changing climate. © 2017

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2017.05.040

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

Ecosystem Services:

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

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Regions:

Cultivating nature-based solutions: The governance of communal urban gardens in the European UnionArticle

In many countries in the European Union (EU), the popularity of communal urban gardening (CUG) on allotments and community gardens is on the rise. Given the role of this practice in increasing urban resilience, most notably social resilience, municipalities in the Global North are promoting CUG as a nature-based solution (NbS). However, the mechanisms by which institutional actors can best support and facilitate CUG are understudied, which could create a gap between aspiration and reality. The aim of this study is therefore to identify what governance arrangements contribute to CUG delivering social resilience. Through the EU GREEN SURGE project, we studied six CUG initiatives from five EU-countries, representing different planning regimes and traditions. We selected cases taking a locally unique or innovative approach to dealing with urban challenges. A variety of actors associated with each of the cases were interviewed to achieve as complete a picture as possible regarding important governance arrangements. A cross-case comparison revealed a range of success factors, varying from clearly formulated objectives and regulations, municipal support, financial resources and social capital through to the availability of local food champions and facilitators engaging in community building. Municipalities can support CUG initiatives by moving beyond a rigid focus on top-down control, while involved citizens can increase the impact of CUG by pursuing political, in addition to hands-on, activities. We conclude that CUG has clear potential to act as a nature-based solution if managed with sensitivity to local dynamics and context. © 2017 Elsevier Inc.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2017.08.013

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

Ecosystem Services:

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

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A distributed modelling approach to assess the use of Blue and Green Infrastructures to fulfil stormwater management requirementsArticle

Blue and Green Infrastructures (B&GI) are nature-based solutions considered as particularly efficient to reduce the potential impact of new and existing developments with respect to stormwater issues. In order to assess their performance at some large scales compatible with urban projects, adapted distributed rainfall-runoff models are required. The latest advancements of the Multi-Hydro platform have made possible the representation of such B&GI. Applied in a virtual new urban development project located in the Paris region, Multi-Hydro has been used to simulate the impact of B&GI implementation, and their ability to fulfil regulation rules authorizing the connexion to the sewer network. The results show that a combination of several B&GI, if they are widely implemented, could represent an efficient tool to meet regulations at the parcel scale, as they can reduce runoff volume about 90%. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2018.02.001

Actions: Carbon Sequestration, Enhancing Ecosystems' Insurance Value, Sustainable use of Matter & Energy, Urban Regeneration, Watershed Management & Ecosystem Restoration, Well-being in Urban Areas

Ecosystem Services:

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

Impacts:

Regions:

Green spaces are not all the same for the provision of air purification and climate regulation services: The case of urban parksArticle

The growing human population concentrated in urban areas lead to the increase of road traffic and artificial areas, consequently enhancing air pollution and urban heat island effects, among others. These environmental changes affect citizen's health, causing a high number of premature deaths, with considerable social and economic costs. Nature-based solutions are essential to ameliorate those impacts in urban areas. While the mere presence of urban green spaces is pointed as an overarching solution, the relative importance of specific vegetation structure, composition and management to improve the ecosystem services of air purification and climate regulation are overlooked. This avoids the establishment of optimized planning and management procedures for urban green spaces with high spatial resolution and detail. Our aim was to understand the relative contribution of vegetation structure, composition and management for the provision of ecosystem services of air purification and climate regulation in urban green spaces, in particular the case of urban parks. This work was done in a large urban park with different types of vegetation surrounded by urban areas. As indicators of microclimatic effects and of air pollution levels we selected different metrics: lichen diversity and pollutants accumulation in lichens. Among lichen diversity, functional traits related to nutrient and water requirements were used as surrogates of the capacity of vegetation to filter air pollution and to regulate climate, and provide air purification and climate regulation ecosystem services, respectively. This was also obtained with very high spatial resolution which allows detailed spatial planning for optimization of ecosystem services. We found that vegetation type characterized by a more complex structure (trees, shrubs and herbaceous layers) and by the absence of management (pruning, irrigation and fertilization) had a higher capacity to provide the ecosystems services of air purification and climate regulation. By contrast, lawns, which have a less complex structure and are highly managed, were associated to a lower capacity to provide these services. Tree plantations showed an intermediate effect between the other two types of vegetation. Thus, vegetation structure, composition and management are important to optimize green spaces capacity to purify air and regulate climate. Taking this into account green spaces can be managed at high spatial resolutions to optimize these ecosystem services in urban areas and contribute to improve human well-being. © 2017 Elsevier Inc.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2017.10.006

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

Ecosystem Services:

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

Impacts:

Regions:

Nature based solution for improving mental health and well-being in urban areasArticle

The general disproportion of urban development and the socio-economical crisis in Serbia, followed by a number of acute and chronic stressors, as well as years of accumulated trauma, prevented the parallel physical, mental and social adaptation of society as a whole. These trends certainly affected the quality of mental health and well-being, particularly on the vulnerable urban population, increasing the absolute number of people with depression, stress and psychosomatic disorders. This study was pioneering in Serbia and was conducted in collaboration with the Faculty of Forestry, the Institute of Mental Health and the Botanical Garden in Belgrade, in order to understand how spending time and performing horticulture therapy in specially designed urban green environments can improve mental health. The participants were psychiatric patients (n=30), users of the day hospital of the Institute who were randomly selected for the study, and the control group, assessed for depression, anxiety and stress before and after the intervention, using a DASS21 scale. During the intervention period the study group stayed in the Botanical garden and participated in a special programme of horticulture therapy. In order to exclude any possible “special treatment'’ or ‘’placebo effect”, the control group was included in occupational art therapy while it continued to receive conventional therapy. The test results indicated that nature based therapy had a positive influence on the mental health and well-being of the participants. Furthermore, the difference in the test results of the subscale stress before and after the intervention for the study group was F1.28 = 5.442 and p<;.05. According to socio demographic and clinical variables, the interesting trend was recorded on the subscale of anxiety showing that the male participants in the study group were more anxious, with the most pronounced inflection noted on this scale after treatment. The results of this study have shown that recuperation from stress, depression and anxiety was possible and much more complete when participants were involved in horticulture therapy as a nature-based solution for improving mental health. © 2017 Elsevier Inc.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2017.06.030

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

Ecosystem Services:

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

Impacts:

Regions:

Public health risk of mercury in China through consumption of vegetables, a modelling studyArticle

Sample measurement of mercury (Hg) contents is a common method for health risk assessment of Hg through vegetable consumption in China. In the present work, we undertook the first modelling study which produced consistent health-risk maps for the whole eastern China. Regional maps of Probable Daily Intake (PDI) of Total mercury (THg) and Methylmercury (MeHg) over the studied area were produced, which were important for the researchers and policy-makers to evaluate the risk and to propose mitigation measures if necessary. The model predictions of air-borne Hg(0) concentrations agreed well with the observations and simulated Hg distribution over China as reported elsewhere. Our calculated PDIs of THg in vegetables were also comparable to those reported in the literature. There was 19% of the studied area with PDIs &gt; 0.08 µg kg−1 bw d−1 [half of the reference dose (RfD)]. The PDI for THg (MeHg) varied from 0.034 (0.007) to 0.162 (0.035) µg kg−1 bw d−1 with an average of 0.058 (0.013) µg kg−1 bw d−1. The highest calculated PDIs of THg over China was equal to the RfD, while the calculated PDIs of MeHg were well below the RfD of 0.1 µg kg−1 bw d−1. The health risk was of concern through consumption of THg in leafy vegetables, rice/wheat and fish in Liaoning Provinces, Hunan, Zhejiang and Guizhou Provinces, with the associated PDIs exceeding the RfD. Despite this, the heath risk of MeHg exposure for the general population in southern China from the same foodstuff consumption was not a concern. The contribution of consumption through leafy vegetation should be considered when THg and MeHg exposures to the population are evaluated. The results improve our understanding in managing public health risk in China especially in large cities with high population, and thus have important contribution to enhance sustainable urbanization as one of the principle goals under the framework of the Nature-Based Solution (NBS). © 2017 Elsevier Inc.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2017.08.010

Actions: Urban Regeneration, Well-being in Urban Areas

Ecosystem Services:

Goals: Sustainable Urbanisation in cities

Impacts:

Regions:

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