Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma

This week (23 November) we’re taking part in the Wales Climate Week. We’ll be presenting the findings of a new RSPB and WWF report on the ways that Nature-based Solution (NbS) can help address the impacts of climate change.

The report, titled Nature-based Solutions in Climate Adaptation Policy, has been produced by the Nature-based Solutions Initiative at the University of Oxford and highlights examples all around us of nature protecting us from rising sea levels, flooding, heatwaves and other extreme weather events caused by a changing climate.

For example:

  • Woodlands, hedgerows, heathlands and semi-natural grasslands intercept rainwater, prevent soil erosion and reduce flood risk to communities and infrastructure downstream.

  • Restoring rivers, floodplains and wetlands to their natural state is slowing the flow of floodwater and it helps once depleted aquifers to fill up with water

  • Ecological farming methods (farming with nature) are restoring degraded soils, protecting food security and rural livelihoods.

  • Agro-forestry (trees on farmland) helps to protect and replenish soils while providing shade and shelter for crops and livestock.

  • In urban areas, trees, parks, green roofs and walls, and sustainable drainage systems help to cool cities during heatwaves, as well as reducing stormwater runoff and urban flooding.

The report also highlights that Nature-based-Solutions are often cheaper to implement and maintain than alternative climate adaptation options, such as hard flood defences (i.e. dredging, artificial embankments, levees), and when all their multiple benefits are taken into account, they usually have higher cost-benefit ratios.

In Wales, Nature-based-Solutions are increasingly seen as an important way of helping to mitigate or reduce Welsh greenhouse gas emissions through land use, especially tree planting. However, there appears to be much less recognition and support for the role of Nature-based Solutions in climate change adaptation. In response, this new report makes recommendations on how Nature-based Solutions can be used to simultaneously contribute to climate resilience, net zero goals and nature recovery while also strengthening our economy, creating green jobs, improving health and well-being and reducing social inequality.

The report also clearly states that Nature-based Solutions need to be well-designed and managed at the landscape scale by stakeholder partnerships that include local communities. This will ensure the right interventions are used in the right place to protect, restore, connect and enhance our natural assets and in doing so provide benefits for both people and nature.