About this Research Topic
Nature based solutions are living solutions inspired and supported by nature that simultaneously provide environmental, social and economic benefits and help to build resilience as well as solutions that bring more nature and natural features and processes into cities, landscapes and seascapes, through locally adapted, resource-efficient and systemic interventions. Nature-based solutions (NBS) aim to help societies address a variety of environmental, social and economic challenges in sustainable ways. During the past decade, nature based solutions have been promoted to explicitly address the nexus of major global societal challenges of the 21st century: growth in population, demand for natural resources, climate change, food and water security and sustainable economic development. With a projected human population approaching 10 billion by 2050 of which 75% will be living in cities, the urban environment must become a major focus for solutions to these global challenges. Cities are hot spots of resource demand and environmental emissions, focal points of cultural identity, social resilience and human intervention for change, and potent engines of economic growth. In addition, there is a recognized need to make degraded catchments more resilient in the face of climate change and increased incidence of extreme events - to reduced sediment and nutrient run-off into streams and rivers and ultimately to the coastal zone with significant benefits in terms of water quality, biodiversity, carbon storage as well as reduction in costs associated with harbour dredging, loss of floodplain farm soil, water treatment etc. Nature based solutions offer the potential to draw inspiration and gain resilience from nature in order to design sustainable cities as well as to realise the commercial promise for economic development and the holy grail of achieving business success with beneficial social, environmental and health outcomes.
To achieve the double goal of economic growth and sustainability, the EU is investing in nature-based solutions with high expectations. A network of 79 cities in 32 countries has already been established and have been participating in demonstration projects. In addition, a coordination action supported by the EU called, ThinkNature, aims to establish a European community of practice that will bridge research, policy, NGO and business sectors.
Funded research will generate new knowledge base and performance data on NBS innovation in science, policy and practice. This Research Topic gathers work on the four main NBS innovation domains:
• sustainable urbanization in cities - The role of NBS in advancing sustainable and resilient infrastructure development; natural resource management with “zero waste” production and efficient use of resources; tackle energy efficiency, lower greenhouse gas emissions, pollution reduction, reduced risk of natural hazards and wellbeing
• restoration of degraded ecosystems - Innovative techniques for restoring and reclaiming land, such as soil fertility restoration; reduction of sediment and nutrient run-off into streams and rivers and ultimately to the coastal zone; ecosystem restoration to increase resilience and adapting to climate change while contributing to human wellbeing
• climate change adaptation and mitigation using NBS - Integrated and holistic solutions that meet both adaptation and mitigation to climate change and are applicable across different sectors such as integrating materials, green and blue infrastructure, enhancing ecosystems; cost-effectiveness of NBS to address societal and environmental challenges such as developing low cost, low maintenance and low carbon emissions solutions to climate change challenges.
• risk management and resilience - Combing nature based solutions for risk management for the reduction of pollution, carbon storage, preservation of biodiversity, floods and droughts, recreational activities, and economic opportunities; Synergies in reducing multiple risks as an integrated approach, combining different scales and planning perspectives; robust monitoring of the performance and assessment of the impact of deployed NBS.
Keywords: sustainable urbanization, ecosystem restoration, climate change adaptation, climate change mitigation, risk management and resilience
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.