Core principles for successfully implementing and upscaling Nature-based Solutions

Core principles for successfully implementing and upscaling Nature-based Solutions


The degradation of the natural environment continues to impact on biodiversity, human health and well-being notwithstanding various initiatives to restore ecosystems and conserve the diversity of life within it. Increasing the interface between conservation and sustainable development goals through the Nature-based Solution (NbS) framework show promising results. However, there is a need to address the gaps to effectively implement, assess and upscale NbS programs in different parts of the world


The study reviews various literature and conducts a critical analysis of different ecosystem approaches to identify the key strengths as well as weaknesses of NbS principles. The main goal is to establish a set of standards to guide NbS implementation in the field.


This research compares the key definition and principles supporting the NbS framework from the IUCN with the Ecosystem Approach in specific ecosystem-based approaches including: Forest Landscape Restoration; Ecosystem-based Adaptation; Ecological Restoration; and, Protected Areas. As such, it presents 8 principles that intersect each other but highlights the 3 major ones. One, Nbs can be implemented as a standalone framework or together with other solutions; Two, implementing NbS should consider the wider landscape. Three, NbS should be incorporated into broader management policies in order to support large scale interventions.


Cohen-Shacham E, Andrade A, Dalton J, et al. Core principles for successfully implementing and upscaling Nature-based Solutions. Environmental Science & Policy. 2019;98:20–29. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2019.04.014.


  • Commission on Ecosystem Management, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, 28 Rue Mauverney, 1196, Gland, Switzerland
  • The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel Aviv University, Israel
  • Conservation International-Colombia, Carrera 13 No. 71-41, Bogotá, Colombia
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature, Nature-Based Solutions Group, 28 Rue Mauverney, 1196, Gland, Switzerland
  • School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, 4072, Australia
  • Equilibrium Research, 47 The Quays, Cumberland Road, Bristol, BS1 6UQ, United Kingdom
  • Swedish Biodiversity Center, Almas allé 8, 750 07, Uppsala, Sweden
  • Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
  • Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences, Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, United States
  • School of Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Glasgow, Dumfries Campus, Bankend Road DG1 4ZL, United Kingdom
  • Institute of Geography and Sustainability, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland