Nature-based solutions should be at the forefront of international efforts to tackle climate change. That was a key conclusion of a new paper – a collaboration between Natural England, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, British Trust for Ornithology, RSPB, Climate Resilience and the University of Stellenbosch – which scrutinised how we should evaluate and measure success of climate change adaptation and mitigation in terrestrial ecosystems.
Lead author and climate change expert at Natural England Dr Mike Morecroft said: “Natural forests, peatlands and other wild places need to be protected and restored to stop greenhouse gas emissions and take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The great thing about nature-based solutions is that as well as reducing emissions, they also build the resilience of ecosystems, protect biodiversity and provide a wide range of benefits of people.”
Other important findings of the paper included:
• although the success of efforts to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions can be measured by monitoring changing fluxes of greenhouse gases, adaption to climate change is more complicated to evaluate as it includes a wide variety of objectives and is about avoiding future harm;
• it is important to have a clear view of what constitutes success in climate change adaptation and mitigation and to be able measure progress;
• more emphasis on testing the effectiveness of proposed approaches to adaptation and mitigation is necessary for ongoing development of nature-based Solutions; and
• it is essential to take an integrated view of mitigation, adaptation, biodiversity, and the needs of people, to realise potential synergies and avoid conflict between different objectives.