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

NbS Resources

Living shorelines enhanced the resilience of saltmarshes to Hurricane Matthew (2016)Article

Nature-based solutions, such as living shorelines, have the potential to restore critical ecosystems, enhance coastal sustainability, and increase resilience to natural disasters; however, their efficacy during storm events compared to traditional hardened shorelines is largely untested. This is a major impediment to their implementation and promotion to policy-makers and homeowners. To address this knowledge gap, we evaluated rock sill living shorelines as compared to natural marshes and hardened shorelines (i.e., bulkheads) in North Carolina, USA for changes in surface elevation, Spartina alterniflora stem density, and structural damage from 2015 to 2017, including before and after Hurricane Matthew (2016). Our results show that living shorelines exhibited better resistance to landward erosion during Hurricane Matthew than bulkheads and natural marshes. Additionally, living shorelines were more resilient than hardened shorelines, as they maintained landward elevation over the two-year study period without requiring any repair. Finally, rock sill living shorelines were able to enhance S. alterniflora stem densities over time when compared to natural marshes. Our results suggest that living shorelines have the potential to improve coastal resilience while supporting important coastal ecosystems. © 2018 by the Ecological Society of America

Link: https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.1722

Actions: Coastal Resilience

Ecosystem Services:

Goals: Risk Management and Resilience

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A new marine measure enhancing Zostera marina seed germination and seedling survivalArticle

Seagrass global distribution has declined in the last decades due to many causes, and the implementation of recovery programmes as well as the development of new restoration techniques are needed. This work describes the development of an innovative restoration measure to enhance Zostera marina (eelgrass) seed germination and seedling survival in sediments inhabited by lugworms (Arenicola marina) and its validation in mesocosm experiments. The technique consists of placing 3 cm thick biodegradable coconut fibre mats (membrane) in the surface sediment to exclude the negative effects of sediment reworking (burial of seeds and destabilization/burial of seedlings). Two different flume mesocosm experiments were setup to test for: i) the effect of membranes on burial of Z. marina seeds; ii) the effect of membranes on survival and growth of Z. marina seedlings. The experiments were run for 8 and 10 weeks, respectively. Results show that the membrane was effectively preventing critical burial of Z. marina seeds as all seed mimics placed on the surface initially were recovered from 0 to 4 cm depth in the plots with membrane, while in the absence of the membrane, all seeds were buried to below the critical depth of 5–6 cm. The membrane also significantly enhanced the survival of Z. marina seedlings. The initial seedling density was in both cases 30/m2 and the final density was 26.0 ± 3.3/m2 with membrane versus 8.0 ± 1.6/m2 without membrane. This new marine restoration measure showed to be effective on the reduction of the physical stress imposed by sediment reworking lugworms on Z. marina recovery, as a membrane keeps seeds at optimal depth for germination and protects seedlings from burial and erosion. In comparison to other measures, this new restoration technique is a low-tech nature-based solution. The results clearly show that this restoration technique can support Z. marina recovery through seeds and seedling protection. In this way, this technique contributes to decrease Z. marina vulnerability and increase its natural recovery potential and stability. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.04.004

Actions: Enhancing Ecosystems' Insurance Value

Ecosystem Services:

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

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Regions:

Spatio-temporal dynamics of regulating ecosystem services in Europe- The role of past and future land use changeArticle

Land use is a main driver for changes in supply and demand of regulating ecosystem services (ES). Most current ES inventories are static and do not address dynamics of ES supply resulting from historic and future land use change. This paper analyzes the role of land use change for the supply of two regulating services, flood regulation and climate regulation, in the European Union (EU) for the period between 1900 and 2000 as well as for four plausible scenarios of future land use change up to 2040. We show that spatio-temporal dynamics of climate regulation are high during this time period, and that future levels of climate regulation are higher than 100 years ago. For flood regulation, we show that increases in the demand over the past century, which are continued in the future scenarios, are the main contributor for spatial mismatches of supply and demand. Our results indicate that, in spite of land use change, the overall supply of the two regulating services is expected to be moderately stable, or to even increase in the coming decades. At the same time, demands for these services are rapidly increasing, and it is unlikely that projected supply is sufficient to meet these demands. The results also indicate that land use allocation that favors the supply of regulating services can be seen as a nature-based solution in which potentials for synergies between multiple ES can be operationalized. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2015.06.009

Actions: Enhancing Ecosystems' Insurance Value

Ecosystem Services:

Goals: Restoring Degraded Ecosystems Using NbS

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Wetlands as large-scale nature-based solutions: Status and challenges for research, engineering and managementArticle

Wetlands are often considered as nature-based solutions that can provide a multitude of services of great social, economic and environmental value to humankind. Changes in land-use, water-use and climate can all impact wetland functions and services. These changes occur at scales extending well beyond the local scale of an individual wetland. However, in practical applications, engineering and management decisions usually focus on individual wetland projects and local site conditions. Here, we systematically investigate if and to what extent research has addressed the large-scale dynamics of landscape systems with multiple wetlands, hereafter referred to as wetlandscapes, which are likely to be relevant for understanding impacts of regional to global change. Although knowledge in many cases is still limited, evidence suggests that the aggregated effects of multiple wetlands in the landscape can differ considerably from the functions observed at individual wetland scales. This applies to provisioning of ecosystem services such as coastal protection, biodiversity support, groundwater level and soil moisture regulation, flood regulation and contaminant retention. We show that parallel and circular flow-paths, through which wetlands are interconnected in the landscape, may largely control such scale-function differences. We suggest ways forward for addressing the mismatch between the scales at which changes take place and the scale at which observations and implementation are currently made. These suggestions can help bridge gaps between researchers and engineers, which is critical for improving wetland function-effect predictability and management. © 2017 The Author(s)

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.07.012

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:

Implementation of the ecosystem services approach in Swedish municipal planningArticle

While ecosystem-based planning approaches are increasingly promoted through international and national policies, municipalities are still struggling with translating them into practice. Against this background, this paper aims to increase the knowledge of current advances and possible ways to support the implementation of the ecosystem services (ES) approach at the municipal level. More specifically, we analyze how ES have been integrated into comprehensive planning within the municipality of Malmö in Sweden over the last 60 years, a declared forerunner in local environmental governance. Based on a content analysis of comprehensive plans over the period 1956–2014 and interviews with municipal stakeholders, this paper demonstrates how planning has shifted over time toward a more holistic view of ES and their significance for human well-being and urban sustainability. Both explicit and implicit applications of the ES concept were found in the analyzed comprehensive plans and associated programs and projects. Our study shows how these applications reflect international, national, and local policy changes, and indicates how municipalities can gradually integrate the ES approach into comprehensive planning and facilitate the transition from implicit to more explicit knowledge use. © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/1523908X.2017.1396206

Actions: Enhancing Ecosystems' Insurance Value

Ecosystem Services:

Goals: Restoring Degraded Ecosystems Using NbS

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Regions:

What causal drivers influence carbon storage in Shanghai, China's urban and peri-urban forests?Article

Studies have documented many biophysical factors that are correlated with urban forest carbon storage. This urban forest function is also increasingly being promoted as a nature-based solution for cities. While urbanization affects both the structure and function of urban forest ecosystems, quantitative analyses of specific casual drivers of carbon storage in urban versus periurban forests are scarce. To address this lack of information, we used field data of random plots located along an urban to rural gradient in Shanghai, China, region-specific biomass equations, and path analysis of commonly studied urban forest socioeconomic and ecological drivers to analyze their effects on above ground tree carbon storage. An urbanization index was also developed to quantitatively differentiate urban from peri-urban sites along the transect. Results show that in both urban and peri-urban forests, percent tree and shrub cover had a significant and positive effect on tree and shrub carbon, but tree and shrub density had an even greater effect. Further, tree and shrub species diversity had no effects on carbon storage, while the effects of species composition on tree and shrub carbon in urban forests was different from those in peri-urban areas. Peri-urban forests also exhibited a significant effect of percent tree and shrub cover on tree and shrub species diversity. This approach, using a path analysis of field and plot data and site-specific dendrometric and urbanization information, can be used to quantitatively identify little explored causal dependences between drivers and ecosystem services without relying exclusively on spatial land cover data often not available in developing countries. © 2017 by the authors.

Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/su9040577

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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Regulating urban surface runoff through nature-based solutions – An assessment at the micro-scaleArticle

Urban development leads to changes of surface cover that disrupt the hydrological cycle in cities. In particular, impermeable surfaces and the removal of vegetation reduce the ability to intercept, store and infiltrate rainwater. Consequently, the volume of stormwater runoff and the risk of local flooding rises. This is further amplified by the anticipated effects of climate change leading to an increased frequency and intensity of heavy rain events. Hence, urban adaptation strategies are required to mitigate those impacts. A nature-based solution, more and more promoted in politics and academia, is urban green infrastructure as it contributes to the resilience of urban ecosystems by providing services to maintain or restore hydrological functions. However, this poses a challenge to urban planners in deciding upon effective adaptation measures as they often lack information on the performance of green infrastructure to moderate surface runoff. It remains unclear what type of green infrastructure (e.g. trees, green roofs), offers the highest potential to reduce discharge volumes and to what extent. Against this background, this study provides an approach to gather quantitative evidence on green infrastructure's regulation potential. We use a micro-scale scenario modelling approach of different variations of green cover under current and future climatic conditions. The scenarios are modelled with MIKE SHE, an integrated hydrological simulation tool, and applied to a high density residential area of perimeter blocks in Munich, Germany. The results reveal that both trees and green roofs increase water storage capacities and hence reduce surface runoff, although the main contribution of trees lies in increasing interception and evapotranspiration, whereas green roofs allow for more retention through water storage in their substrate. With increasing precipitation intensities as projected under climate change their regulating potential decreases due to limited water storage capacities. The performance of both types stays limited to a maximum reduction of 2.4% compared to the baseline scenario, unless the coverage of vegetation and permeable surfaces is significantly increased as a 14.8% reduction is achieved by greening all roof surfaces. We conclude that the study provides empirical support for the effectiveness of urban green infrastructure as nature-based solution to stormwater regulation and assists planners and operators of sewage systems in selecting the most effective measures for implementation and estimation of their effects. © 2017 Elsevier Inc.

Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2017.05.023

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

Ecosystem Services:

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

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Biodiversity’s contribution to the quality of lifeReport

This report follows on from the English Nature report Revealing the Value of Nature and picks up in more detail references to quality of life. In today’s society, and with government looking at joined up thinking, it is important to assess the benefits achieved by the work of English Nature and other conservation organisations over and above that for nature conservation.

Link: http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/130015?category=127020

Actions: Carbon Sequestration, Coastal Resilience, 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, Risk Management and Resilience, Sustainable Urbanisation in cities

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Benefits and costs of ecological restorationReport

Restoration of degraded land is recognized by the international community as an important way of enhancing both biodiversity and ecosystem services, but more information is needed about its costs and benefits. In Cambridgeshire, U.K., a long‐term initiative to convert drained, intensively farmed arable land to a wetland habitat mosaic is driven by a desire both to prevent biodiversity loss from the nationally important Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve (Wicken Fen NNR) and to increase the provision of ecosystem services. We evaluated the changes in ecosystem service delivery resulting from this land conversion, using a new Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site‐based Assessment (TESSA) to estimate biophysical and monetary values of ecosystem services provided by the restored wetland mosaic compared with the former arable land. Overall results suggest that restoration is associated with a net gain to society as a whole of $199 ha−1y−1, for a one‐off investment in restoration of $2320 ha−1. Restoration has led to an estimated loss of arable production of $2040 ha−1y−1, but estimated gains of $671 ha−1y−1 in nature‐based recreation, $120 ha−1y−1 from grazing, $48 ha−1y−1 from flood protection, and a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worth an estimated $72 ha−1y−1. Management costs have also declined by an estimated $1325 ha−1y−1. Despite uncertainties associated with all measured values and the conservative assumptions used, we conclude that there was a substantial gain to society as a whole from this land‐use conversion. The beneficiaries also changed from local arable farmers under arable production to graziers, countryside users from towns and villages, and the global community, under restoration. We emphasize that the values reported here are not necessarily transferable to other sites.

Link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ece3.1248

Actions: Carbon Sequestration, Coastal Resilience, 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, Risk Management and Resilience, Sustainable Urbanisation in cities

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Regions:

Economic Benefits of Accessible Green Spaces for Physical and Mental Health: Scoping study Report

There is a growing concern in government with the health status of the population and its increasing sedentary lifestyle. 23% of males and 26% of females in the UK are classified as sedentary. The cost of physical inactivity in England is estimated at £8.2bn per year with an additional £2.5bn as the contribution of inactivity to obesity. The Public Health White Paper (Department of Health, 2004a) has, as three of its six overarching priorities, ‘reducing obesity’, ‘increasing exercise’ and ‘improving mental health’. Greenspace can contribute to the delivery of these objectives.

Link: https://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/FChealth10-2final.pdf/$FILE/FChealth10-2final...

Actions: Carbon Sequestration, Coastal Resilience, 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, Risk Management and Resilience, Sustainable Urbanisation in cities

Impacts:

Regions:

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