Incorporating Nature-based Solutions into Community Climate Adaptation Planning

  • Arsum Pathak, Patty Glick, Lara J. Hansen, Laura E. Hilberg, Jessie Ritter, and Bruce A. Stein
  • Mar 31, 2022
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As climate change poses increasing risks to communities across the country, the role of nature in addressing climate-related impacts is receiving heightened attention. “Nature-based Solutions” (NbS) can play an important role in community adaptation and resilience, not only by reducing climate-related risks but also through enhancing the quality of life for community residents.

Incorporating Nature-based Solutions into Community Climate Adaptation Planning offers guidance for local communities, planners, and climate service providers for integrating natural and nature-based features into adaptation and resilience planning. A collaboration between National Wildlife Federation and EcoAdapt, this guidance was funded by the Climate Resilience Fund in support of the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, and its “Steps to Resilience” planning framework.

Nature-based solutions—also known as natural infrastructure, natural defenses, natural climate solutions, and a variety of other terms—can encompass a wide range of options, from the conservation and reliance on still-intact natural systems, the restoration of degraded ecosystems, to the use of engineered systems designed to emulate natural system functions. Nature-based approaches can also be used in concert with structural options to form hybrid or “green-gray” systems for risk reduction.

The guide offers advice on how to integrate nature-based solutions into each phase of the “Steps to Resilience” community planning process. The guide also summarizes approaches for overcoming barriers to the adoption of nature-based solutions and highlights funding and financing mechanisms that can help communities implement nature-based approaches.

To promote the adoption of nature-based solutions more broadly, the report identifies the following set of seven “key considerations” for incorporating nature-based solutions into community adaptation planning:

·       Recognize natural systems and processes as critical infrastructure

·       Consider climate impacts on priority natural assets

·       Consider equity implications in the design and application of nature-based solutions

·       Ensure nature-based solutions yield net positive biodiversity benefits

·       Seek to protect or restore critical natural infrastructure

·       Give natural features and processes space to function

·       Integrate nature-based solutions into existing planning processes

Incorporating Nature-based Solutions into Community Climate Adaptation Planning

Incorporating Nature-based Solutions into Community Climate Adaptation Planning


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