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May 06, 2021 Thursday 05:53:09 PM IST

Nature must be a partner, not just a provider of services – Oxford report

Nature based Solutions (NbS) could support transformative change in environmental sustainability - to address major societal challenges, including the climate crisis - according to a new paper from Oxford researchers. But, the team warns, there must be a move away from the narrow framing of what nature can ‘do’ for society to an integrated approach, where solutions are understood as place-based, activated by people in partnership with nature. This issue has real world implications for the way nature becomes an integrated part of the response to environmental challenges. For example, positioning the action of tree planting as simply a way to mitigate climate change, rather than a dynamic relationship between people and nature, is over simplistic.  This is not conducive to transformative change and perpetuates a separation between people and nature. For research, policy, and practice on NbS to support transformative change, it is crucial for the framing of the concept to move away from a separation between people and nature, and welcome other ways of understanding human-nature relationships.

Paper author Alexandre Chausson says, ‘Nature Based Solutions are often talked about in terms of transformational change. And, NbS are key to address the climate crisis, food and water insecurity, and biodiversity loss. ‘But the way they are talked about needs to be transformational as well because, ultimately, how the concept is communicated shapes the solutions that are put forward on the table for policy and practice.’ He highlights, ‘Understanding NbS as a dynamic partnership between people and nature, is crucial to deliver resilient actions that work for people and nature.’