By Stephen Brend- Project Science Officer
Many people are familiar with shelter belts – lines of trees that break up wind flows. This is perhaps the simplest and most common “nature based solution”, which is the use of natural products, ecosystems and structures to address environmental problems, particularly those caused by climate change. When most people hear the word “breakwater”, they probably picture a high concrete and stone wall. But why couldn’t the breakwater be an oyster reef? That would be a nature-based solution.
There are countless more examples: billabongs to absorb and disperse flood waters, mangrove plantings to diffuse storm surges, even using bees as pollinators is a nature-based solution. They are important for many reasons. Understanding and accepting natural water flows, for instance, rather than trying to block or control them, is both easier and more cost effective. Nature based solutions put more natural elements back into our environment, thereby increasing overall diversity and resilience. They regenerate naturally and are visually less intrusive. However, the real reason why they are important is because they are a solution. The climate crises is upon us. We need to adapt and mitigate. It is far better for us to start working with nature rather than against her.