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Nature-Based Solutions

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Nature-Based Solutions

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Area: 5888268 km2
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Brazil; Peru; Suriname; France; Colombia; Guyana; Bolivia; Venezuela; Ecuador
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Total Organizations: 102
Total Projects: 151
Total Locations: 535
Profile Completion: 100%

Community Overview

The Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) portal is an online community and resource for organizations engaging in NBS. You can read about water-related NBS projects from around the world, share your own NBS work, connect with organizations, and access NBS resources and lessons learned.

NBS are defined by the IUCN as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.” They offer a mechanism to meet the challenges of degraded ecosystems, unsustainable water use, and climate change, leading to improved water quality and quantity, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, social well-being, and agricultural productivity (Global Commission on Adaptation and World Resources Institute, 2019). In addition, NBS can also be used to manage floods, droughts, and extreme weather events in ways that are more flexible and resilient than many traditionally engineered solutions (Browder et al., 2019).

The concept of NBS arose out of an increasing recognition of the fundamental role ecosystems play in addressing some of society’s biggest challenges, including enhancing water security, reducing risk of natural disasters, avoiding degradation of natural ecosystems, and mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

The four major types of NBS interventions in watersheds are restoration, protection, management, and creation (of artificial ecosystems). Some of the most common water-related NBS are forest restoration or protection to improve water quantity and quality; wetland construction, restoration, management, or protection to improve water quantity and quality; and creation of artificial habitats to address flooding.

Although NBS can be more flexible, resilient, and cost-effective than conventional engineered solutions (e.g. reservoirs and levees), their benefits are less well understood and difficult to quantify within the same decision-making frameworks. To meet this challenge, the CEO Water Mandate is working to develop a standardized method to account for the stacked water, carbon and biodiversity benefits of NBS to build a business case for and show the investment potential of NBS for watersheds.

Source: Tien Shiao, Cora Kammeyer, Gregg Brill, Laura Feinstein, Michael Matosich, Kari Vigerstol and Carla Müller-Zantop (2020). Business Case for Nature-Based Solutions: Landscape Assessment. United Nations Global Compact CEO Water Mandate and Pacific Institute. Oakland, California. www.ceowatermandate.org/nbs/landscape

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Suggested Resources

View the full list of 300+ resources at the Water Stewardship Toolbox

The Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) have published a background paper on managing the water-related impacts of climate change. It argues that water is key to effective climate change adaptation. It outlines ... Learn More

Developers: Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), International Water Management Institute

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Developers: Asian Development Bank

Autocase uses a methodology developed by the US Army Corps of Engineers to quantify benefits of projects.` Learn More

Nature-based solution (NBS) can improve degraded ecosystems, help sequester carbon, and manage the effects of climate change, including extreme weather events. Businesses are beginning to recognize the value of NBS for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience. Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

Developed by a group of leading beverage businesses, this is an easy-to-use excel tool for beverage facilities to estimate direct costs associated with their most water- and resource- intensive processes, beyond just the cost of water from the tap. The ... Learn More

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Developers: Ceres

The Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM) is used to construct Australia’s national greenhouse gas emissions account for the land sector. It models a “baseline scenario” (in which the land would normally be cleared) and a “project scenario” (in which the ... Learn More

This statute establishes a program to regulate the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands. Section 404 requires a permit before dredged or fill material may be discharged into waters of the United ... Learn More

CPIC’s Green Infrastructure for Watershed Management Working Group develops financial structure blueprints for projects and companies that involve or restore green infrastructure. The Group's goal is to develop financial vehicles to attract private capital to projects and companies that contribute ... Learn More

Developers: WWF

A multi-step framework that considers site-specific biological complexity and aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the biodiversity-focused activities undertaken by BHP, both “inside the fence” as a part of mitigating its operational activities, and “outside the fence” as a part ... Learn More

Developers: BHP, Conservation International

A structure for measuring, monitoring and communicating the sustainability of a landscape to guide local activities, inform policy and advise investments. The Landscape Assessment Framework is not a system for monitoring and evaluation of project outcomes, but rather of indicators ... Learn More

Developers: Conservation International

This report makes the case for private sector investment in green infrastructure as part of a broader water stewardship approach. Learn More

Developers: BHP

The CUBHIC tools (Excel) support quantified estimates of the impacts of the most common nature-based solutions for water in Peru, in terms of water quantity (increases in dry season flow) and quality (reductions in sediments and nutrient pollution). Learn More

Developers: Consorcio para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Ecoregión Andina (CONDESAN), Forest Trends

This tool helps Dow and the wider business community identify and incorporate the value of nature into business decision making. The objective is to rapidly and cost-effectively advance or promote the valuation of ecosystem services across a large corporation such ... Learn More

Developers: Dow Chemical Company

This financial modeling tool helps businesses factor water scarcity into decisions that support business growth and help ensure availability of water resources for future generations (Ecolab, 2020). For each site, the tool provides assessments of: incoming water risks (monetary value ... Learn More

Developers: Ecolab, Microsoft

This impact evaluation framework can guide the design, development, implementation and assessment of NBS demonstration projects in urban contexts. Learn More

This book is a collection of Engineering With Nature projects from around the world. Engineering With Nature is the intentional alignment of natural and engineering processes to efficiently and sustainably deliver economic, environmental, and social benefits through collaboration. Learn More

This report summarizes and analyzes the responses of a national survey entitled "Evaluation of Credit Stacking" that was developed jointly by EPRI, the World Resources Institute, Stetson University College of Law and the University of Kentucky. The purpose of the ... Learn More

Developers: World Resources Institute

European and Brazilian experts analyse the occurrence and potential of NBS in Brazil, highlight good practices in the EU for possible adaptation to the Brazilian context, and contribute to the elaboration of a NBS strategy in Brazil. Twenty-five case studies ... Learn More

This report presents the main findings of the Horizon 2020 Expert Group on future orientations for EU Research and Innovation for Nature-Based Solutions and Re-Naturing Cities. Learn More

NBS offer a promising contribution on how to enhance the availability and quality of water for productive purposes and human consumption, while preserving ecosystems. In this discussion paper, 21 case studies of water management processes are analysed, using a non-representative ... Learn More

FAO has been emphasizing the need to accelerate a global transition to sustainable food and agriculture systems, advocating an integrated approach. This document focuses on the management of water for agricultural use. Learn More

The index measures the overall health of a watershed by making clear connections between the ecosystem and the benefits it provides to people. It allows resource managers, engineers, policy makers and other stakeholders to evaluate scenarios, understand tradeoffs, prioritize interventions ... Learn More

Developers: Conservation International, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

The vision of the framework is a world of living in harmony with nature where: By 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people. The ... Learn More

This web site provides an overview of the scientific evidence of human health and well-being benefits provided by urban forestry and urban greening. Learn More

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol establishes comprehensive global standardized frameworks to measure and manage GHG emissions from private and public sector operations, value chains and mitigation actions. Building on a 20-year partnership between WRI and the WBCSD, the protocol works with ... Learn More

Developers: World Resources Institute

This tool provides a framework, methods and values to support rapid screening-level analysis of the costs and benefits associated with a range of green infrastructure investments. The range of benefits include combined sewer overflow event reduction, stormwater capture for water ... Learn More

This guide outlines why and how investors engage on agricultural supply chain water risk. Learn More

Developers: WWF

InVEST is a suite of models used to map and value the goods and services from nature that sustain and fulfill human life. InVEST enables decision makers to assess quantified tradeoffs associated with alternative management choices and to identify areas ... Learn More

Developers: The Nature Conservancy, WWF

These guidelines help countries account for their GHG emissions. Learn More

I-Tree is a peer-reviewed software suite from the United States Forest Service that provides urban and rural forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools that quantifies forest structure and the environmental benefits that trees provide. Different tools provide different outputs. Some ... Learn More

To provide guidance and a global framework for the design, verification and scaling up of Nature-based Solutions. The Standard includes globally consistent Criteria and Indicators, which are supported by the Principles for Nature-based Solutions, to measure the strength of interventions. Learn More

Developers: International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

The Landscape Performance Series is an online set of resources to help designers, agencies and advocates evaluate performance, show value and make the case for sustainable landscape solutions. Learn More

The Protocol responds to natural capital being excluded from decisions by offering an internationally standardized framework for the identification, measurement, and valuation of impacts and dependencies on natural capital in order to inform organizational decisions. Learn More

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Developers: World Resources Institute

This article presents the state of knowledge with regard to human health and well-being from contact with nature. Learn More

The United Nations World Water Development Report for 2018. Learn More

The report proposes a definitional framework for NbS, including a set of general principles for any NbS intervention. The report also defines the scope of NbS as an umbrella concept embracing a number of different ecosystembased approaches. Learn More

Developers: International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

This open access book brings together research findings and experiences from science, policy and practice to highlight and debate the importance of nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation in urban areas. Emphasis is given to the potential of nature-based approaches ... Learn More

NAIAD seeks to develop concrete NBS approaches in response to flood and drought risks at nine demonstration sites across Europe, and to deliver replicable implementation methods. NAIAD works on development of financial instruments and novel business models in support of ... Learn More

The Ocean Health Index is the comprehensive framework used to measure ocean health from global to local scales. Learn More

This framework provides finance to organizations addressing social and/or environmental needs with the explicit expectation of a measurable social, as well as financial, return. It thus aims to foster economic development while achieving social outcomes. It is one way of ... Learn More

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This handbook focuses on the nature of values associated with biological diversity and the methodological approaches that can be adopted to assign values for policy purposes. It adopts a variety of case studies to illustrate the valuation process in OECD ... Learn More

By assessing what is known about the benefits of forest management, this report provides crucial information for ongoing policy discussions on long-term stewardship of California’s headwater forests. Learn More

This report shows how putting nature to work can help deliver infrastructure services with greater impact and lower cost, all the while reducing risks from disaster, boosting water security and enhancing climate resilience. Learn More

This methodology makes it possible for farmers to participate in carbon markets by creating GHG offsets through reductions in the amount of nitrogen used to fertilize crops. These offsets can be sold to other carbon market participants to meet GHG ... Learn More

A methodology and tool that assesses and values the spectrum of impacts generated by projects including economic, environmental and social impacts and captures the full value of the project in a monetized form. Methodology uses an application of social return ... Learn More

This report seeks to provide an overview of the three leading water tools available for corporate water risk assessment. Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

The Soil &amp; Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is a small watershed to river basin-scale model used to simulate the quality and quantity of surface and ground water and predict the environmental impact of land use, land management practices and climate ... Learn More

The Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) Standard for Sustainable Rice Cultivation is the world’s first voluntary sustainability standard for rice. The standard is complemented by a set of 12 quantitative performance indicators. By identifying “hotspots,” the indicators enable users to monitor ... Learn More

ACR a leading carbon offset program developing rigorous, sciencebased offset standards and methodologies in the oversight of ACR’s online registry system. It provides GHG emissions methodologies for land-use change projects. Related methodologies for NBS projects include afforestation/reforestation, improved forest management, ... Learn More

This tool is an interactive map linking nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation outcomes based on a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature. Learn More

Developers: Pacific Institute

This Handbook has been developed in the framework of the ThinkNature project. Its main objective is to gather and promote state-of-the-art knowledge regarding Nature-Based Solutions (NBS), comprising a comprehensive guide to all relevant actors. To this end, each aspect of ... Learn More

As the co-leads of the Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) Coalition for the UN Climate Action Summit, China and New Zealand have received descriptions of nearly 200 initiatives and best practices from a broad range of entities around the world. This paper ... Learn More

We will introduce a conceptualization of water security that appreciates its complexity, and present some efforts to secure water development for the future at different scales, with more focus on water and agriculture, water and health, and rural development to ... Learn More

This initiative seeks to establish a common view amongst key stakeholder on the measurement, monitoring and disclosure of corporate biodiversity impacts and dependencies. Key outputs are recommendations for the private sector and policy makers on methodologies to measure corporate biodiversity ... Learn More

This interactive bibliography permits you to explore publications on the role or use of biodiversity and ecosystems to 1) address impacts from climate change, 2) help store carbon or reduce carbon emissions, and 3) promote ecosystem-health in the context of ... Learn More

On this page you will find some real-life examples of when working with nature is helping local people deal with the impacts of climate change, as well as improving ecosystem health and storing carbon. Learn More

This is an interactive map linking nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation outcomes based on a systematic review of the peer-reviewed literature. Learn More

This report demonstrates how nature‐based solutions (NBS) offer a vital means of moving beyond business‐as‐usual to address many of the world’s water challenges while simultaneously delivering additional benefits vital to all aspects of sustainable development. Learn More

This standard sets out detailed procedures for quantifying the real GHG benefits of a project and provides guidance to help project developers determine project boundaries, set baselines, assess additionality and ultimately quantify the GHG emissions that were reduced or removed. ... Learn More

The WEAP system is a user-friendly software tool that takes an integrated approach to water resources planning. Freshwater management challenges are increasingly common. Allocation of limited water resources between agricultural, municipal and environmental uses now requires the full integration of ... Learn More

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The Water Risk Filter can be used to assess and respond to water-related risks for your own operations, suppliers, or growth plans. Learn More

Developers: WWF

This bill requires developers to purchase wetland mitigation credits within the watershed they’re affecting. The Department of Natural Resources requires creation or preservation of other wetlands as a condition of an individual permit allowing dredging or filling of wetlands. Builders ... Learn More

The main goal of this guide is to improve understanding and promote more and better use of these knowledge products to inform environmental risks and opportunities in business operations. The aim is to show how knowledge products can help in ... Learn More

Developers: International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

This report considers five areas of ocean-based climate action to mitigate GHG emissions. (1) Ocean-based renewable energy. (2) Ocean-based transport. (3) Coastal and marine ecosystems. (4) The ocean-based food system (wild capture fisheries, aquaculture and shifting human diets towards food ... Learn More

Developers: World Resources Institute

Currently in the prototype phase, this calculator is an excel-based tool with a flexible financial model that estimates the private costs and benefits, including the return on investment, of natural infrastructure interventions designed to enhance aquifer recharge. This tool was ... Learn More

Developers: World Resources Institute

This is a common method for assessing the benefits of water stewardship activities in a comparable way and ensuring they address current or projected water challenges and contribute to public policy priorities. Learn More

Developers: World Resources Institute

Provides a step-by-step framework for flood managers to understand the factors contributing to flood risk in their region, and to pull together the appropriate policies, NBS and traditional engineering to address the problem. Learn More

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Nature-based solutions (NBS) offer a broad range of benefits, including improved water quantity and quality, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity protection. However, these solutions may also have trade-offs (negative or unintended impacts) such as displacing land users or replacing diverse ecosystems ...

Nature-based solutions (NBS) take place within complex, dynamic, and self-organizing socio-ecological systems. These include biophysical, economic, political, and cultural systems. For example, a forest restoration project interacts with the forest ecology, hydrology, local communities, and regional businesses. The project also ...

Effective engagement with local communities in nature-based solutions (NBS) projects requires thoughtful commitment. Build relationships with stakeholder groups and incorporate their input throughout the project lifecycle, from design and planning to project management and maintenance. Engaging and empowering a diverse ...

By sharing your nature-based solution (NBS) story, you show that it is possible to create healthy, productive landscapes where nature and people thrive in a cost-effective way. By assessing the “full value” of your NBS project and demonstrating cost savings, ...

Organizations, companies, and governments have the ability to design and implement nature-based solutions (NBS) at different scales. They can start with small-scale projects within their boundaries to develop a robust understanding of the NBS, test their hypotheses, and refine their ...