Nature-based solutions (NbS) refer to the use of natural processes and ecosystems to solve complex environmental problems. NbS is increasingly being recognized as an important approach to address challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and water management. NbS has become a popular way of mitigating and adapting to climate change, and it also provides co-benefits, such as improving air and water quality, enhancing biodiversity, and providing opportunities for sustainable economic development.

NbS can sequester carbon and mitigate the effects of climate change by restoring degraded lands, forests, wetlands, and other natural ecosystems. These solutions can improve soil health, water quality, and reduce erosion, all of which can have positive impacts on local economies and communities. Furthermore, NbS can also build resilience to climate change, particularly for vulnerable communities. For instance, the protection and restoration of mangrove forests can help reduce the impacts of coastal erosion, storm surges, and sea level rise, which can protect communities from the devastating impacts of natural disasters.

The implementation of NbS provides an opportunity to achieve sustainable development while addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, and food and water insecurity. However, it is essential to acknowledge that NbS is not a silver bullet and should be implemented in conjunction with other interventions, including policy measures, technological innovations, and community engagement. It is also important to note that while NbS is a solution to environmental challenges, it should not be used to justify the destruction of natural ecosystems.

The importance of NbS has been recognized by international organizations, including the United Nations, which launched the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030. The goal of this initiative is to prevent, halt, and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide and achieve sustainable development. 

Nature-based solutions (NbS) comprises a wide range of practices and approaches, each of which can provide a unique set of benefits to the environment, society, and the economy. Some practical examples of nature-based solutions:

  • Reforestation and afforestation: This involves planting trees in areas that have been deforested or degraded, to restore or create forest ecosystems. Reforestation and afforestation can provide a range of benefits, such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, and socio-economic development.
  • Wetland restoration: This involves restoring or creating wetland ecosystems that have been lost or degraded, to provide a range of ecosystem services such as water filtration, flood regulation, and biodiversity conservation.
  • Sustainable Agricultural practices that mimic natural ecosystems: This involves using agricultural practices that are sustainable and that mimic the structure and function of natural ecosystems, such as agroforestry, intercropping, and cover cropping. These practices can improve soil health, reduce erosion, and increase biodiversity.
  • Green infrastructure: This involves designing urban infrastructure such as parks, green roofs, and rain gardens to provide ecosystem services such as temperature regulation, stormwater management, and biodiversity conservation.
  • Marine conservation: This involves protecting and restoring marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs and mangroves, to provide a range of benefits such as coastal protection, fisheries, and tourism.
  • Urban forests: This involves planting trees and creating green spaces in urban areas to provide a range of benefits such as improving air quality, reducing urban heat islands, and enhancing biodiversity.
  • River restoration: This involves restoring or creating natural river ecosystems, to provide a range of benefits such as improved water quality, flood regulation, and habitat for fish and other aquatic species.
  • Sustainable agriculture: This involves using sustainable farming practices such as conservation tillage, integrated pest management, and crop rotation, to reduce environmental impacts and increase yields.
  • Soil conservation: This involves implementing practices that protect and improve soil health, such as reduced tillage, cover cropping, and composting.
  • Restoration of degraded lands: This involves restoring degraded lands through reforestation, agroforestry, and other natural solutions, to improve soil health, water quality, and reduce erosion.

The specific approaches and practices used will depend on the specific environmental challenges faced and the local context. It is important to note that NbS is a promising approach to environmental challenges, and it offers multiple benefits for society and the environment. By restoring natural ecosystems and promoting sustainable development, NbS can provide a range of co-benefits, including carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, and socio-economic development. As the world faces ever-increasing environmental challenges, it is becoming increasingly clear that NbS must play a central role in our efforts to build a more sustainable and resilient future for all.

– Olaoluwa Adetula


  1. FAO. (2020). State of the World’s Forests 2020. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
  2. IPCC. (2018). Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change. Geneva, Switzerland: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  3. The Nature Conservancy. (n.d.). What are nature-based solutions? Retrieved from
  4. United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. (n.d.). About the UN Decade. Retrieved from
  5. United Nations Environment Programme. (2021). Nature-based solutions. Retrieved from
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