Planning and governing nature-based solutions in river landscapes: Concepts, cases, and insights

Editorial to Special Issue Nature-based Solutions in River Landscapes in AMBIO (2021)


Nature-based solutions (NBS), understood as actions that use ecosystem processes to address societal needs, can play important roles to future-proof river landscape development for people and nature. However, knowledge gaps exist how NBS can be planned and implemented at landscape scales.

In a joint effort, the junior research groups PlanSmart and SEE-URBAN-WATER have prepared a Special Issue about Nature-based Solutions (NBS) in River Landscapes in the journal AMBIO. The Special Issue brings together insights and experiences from studies of assessing, planning, and implementing NBS in river landscapes in Costa Rica, Europe and beyond. It addresses three mayor research fields: (i) NBS effects, looking at the effectiveness of NBS to achieve ecological, social, and/or economic outcomes, (ii) NBS planning, focusing on approaches for planning and designing NBS, and (iii) NBS governance, relating to governance and business models for implementation. The twelve contributions to the Special Issue provide evidence on how NBS outperform conventional, rather technical solutions, provide guidance and tools to operationalize the NBS concept into practice, and showcase successful governance models of NBS in different contexts. The editorial reflects on key insights from all contributions and ends with an outlook on further research needs.

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