The Importance of Nature-Based Solutions in Tackling Climate Change

Nature will play a major role in humanity's fight against climate change

The Importance of Nature-Based Solutions in Tackling Climate Change
Christopher Rothera
May 22, 2023

Climate change is a global crisis that demands urgent action. While technological innovations and policy measures are crucial, there is a growing recognition of the significant role that nature-based solutions play in combating climate change. Nature-based solutions harness the power of ecosystems to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, enhance carbon sequestration, and build climate resilience. In this blog, we will explore the importance of nature-based solutions in tackling climate change, highlighting their multiple benefits for both the environment and society.

Oko's tree pre-nurnsery, developing 2023's tree seedlings
  1. Enhancing Carbon Sequestration

One of the primary contributions of nature-based solutions in tackling climate change lies in their ability to enhance carbon sequestration. Forests, wetlands, grasslands, and other natural ecosystems act as vast carbon sinks, absorbing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. By conserving and restoring these ecosystems, we can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Forests, in particular, play a crucial role in carbon sequestration. Trees absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, storing carbon in their trunks, branches, leaves, and roots. Large-scale reforestation initiatives can substantially increase carbon storage and help offset carbon emissions. Moreover, protecting existing forests prevents carbon being released back into the atmosphere through deforestation.

  1. Climate Regulation and Resilience

Nature-based solutions also contribute to climate regulation and resilience. Natural ecosystems provide essential services that regulate local and regional climate patterns. Forests, for instance, influence temperature, precipitation, and humidity levels through evapotranspiration and cloud formation. Protecting and restoring forests can help maintain favourable climatic conditions and mitigate the intensity of heatwaves, droughts, and storms.

Furthermore, nature-based solutions enhance climate resilience by providing natural buffers against climate impacts. Coastal wetlands, such as mangroves and salt marshes, act as natural barriers against storm surges and sea-level rise. These ecosystems help protect vulnerable communities, infrastructure, and valuable coastal ecosystems from the destructive forces of climate change.

A tropical storm rolling its way through Port Loko, Sierra Leone during the wet season, 2022
  1. Biodiversity Conservation

Nature-based solutions go hand in hand with biodiversity conservation. Healthy ecosystems support a diverse array of plant and animal species, ensuring the long-term viability of our planet's biodiversity. Protecting and restoring habitats not only safeguards endangered species but also maintains the intricate web of ecological interactions that sustains our planets ecosystem and keeps them functioning.

Preserving biodiversity is crucial for ecosystem resilience and adaptability in the face of climate change. Species diversity ensures that ecosystems can withstand disturbances, recover from environmental shocks, and continue to provide vital services that maintain and support their environment.Additionally, diverse ecosystems tend to be more productive, enhancing their capacity for carbon sequestration and an ecosystems ability to be sustainable and to thrive and grow.

Cabbage tree emperor caterpillar snapped munching on a cashew nut tree in Oko's nursery
  1. Sustainable Development and Co-Benefits

Nature-based solutions offer a range of co-benefits that contribute to sustainable development. Investing in nature-based solutions creates employment opportunities, particularly in rural and indigenous communities. Restoration projects, such as reforestation and wetland conservation, often require local workforce engagement, promoting economic growth and poverty alleviation.

Moreover, nature-based solutions provide opportunities for ecosystem-based tourism, ecotourism, and nature-based recreation, which can generate revenue and foster sustainable livelihoods. Protected areas and restored ecosystems also offer educational and research prospects, enabling scientific advancements and fostering environmental awareness.

One of Oko's forestry lining teams poses for a team photo

Nature-based solutions are integral to tackling climate change effectively. By harnessing the power of ecosystems, we can enhance carbon sequestration, regulate the climate, conserve biodiversity, and promote sustainable development. Governments, organisations, and individuals must recognise the importance of integrating nature-based solutions into climate change strategies and policies. Additionally, financial incentives, international cooperation, and community participation are essential for scaling up nature-based solutions globally. Embracing these nature-based approaches offers hope for a more sustainable and biodiverse world where nature and humanity can grow together and protect each other.