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‘Nature-based solutions’ concept featured in Nature editorial

Loch Saugh (c) James Hutton Institute
"NBS will require the participation of the scientific community, funders and supporters in refining the concept

The concept of ‘nature-based solutions’ has been featured in the latest editorial of influential publication Nature, citing a paper co-written by James Hutton Institute scientists as a key resource in developing the notion of NBS.

NBS is a recently-introduced term in environmental research and management, with connections to other concepts for managing and understanding ecosystems. It was analysed by an international effort in which Hutton researchers Kerry Waylen, Katherine Irvine and Mark Wilkinson took part, in conjunction with colleagues from Germany, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, France and the UK.

The Nature editorial defines NBS as “a newly coined umbrella term intended to sweep up all of the above phrases, add others such as ‘ecological engineering’ and ‘ecosystem-based mitigation’, and dump them into a policy-relevant pot, where sustainable practices that harness the natural world (wetlands to clean waste water, for example) can be devised, analysed and then pulled out for use by politicians, scholars and researchers.”

It goes on to say NBS will require the participation of the scientific community, funders and supporters in refining the concept through a series of questions.

“The answers will entail identifying the specific problems for which a nature-based solution is needed, and monitoring the outcomes. Words, after all, can only take us so far,” it concludes.

Notes to editors:

Paper: "The science, policy and practice of nature-based solutions: An interdisciplinary perspective" by Carsten Nesshöver, Timo Assmuth, Katherine Irvine, Graciela Rusch, Kerry Waylen, Ben Delbaere, Dagmar Haase, Lawrence Jones-Walters, Hans Keune, Eszter Kovacs, Kinga Krauze, Mart Külvik, Freddy Rey, Jiska van Dijk, Odd Inge Vistad, Mark Wilkinson and Heidi Wittmer. Science of The Total Environment, Volume 579, 1 February 2017, pages 1215-1227.

Editorial: "‘Nature-based solutions’ is the latest green jargon that means more than you might think"Nature 541, 133–134 (12 January 2017)

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.