Nature Based Solutions – What are they and why do we need them?

The start of the year has seen many discussions on Nature-based Solutions, with questions on what counts as a Nature-based Solution, can they be delivered alongside food production and who will want to pay for these interventions?

Nature-based Solutions (NbS), are about working with nature to restore or protect ecosystems and address local and societal challenges, the obvious ones being things like drought or flooding. This means many farms are already doing NbS. A hedgerow is a natural solution for sheltering stock, dividing field boundaries and reducing field soil erosion. A scrape and pond complex is a natural way to store flood water and a diverse rotation is a nature based way to improve soil organic matter and long term soil viability.

Many NbS interventions are therefore not particularly new in the farmed landscape, the interesting part is identifying these NbS actions and the wider impact this can have locally and for broader society. This understanding of NbS opens the door for farmers, landowners and managers to be paid for providing more of these benefits.

The great benefit is that working with nature can be relatively cheap compared to concrete and steel projects, and NbS addresses a multitude of issues including more quality space for our beleaguered wildlife.

This is why assessing the additional NbS potential of your land alongside the food and farming business could be the start of a new source of income AND benefit our beloved British farmland wildlife.

Southern Water are planning to help farmers in the cluster identify their NbS options, as one of the many benefits is often water quality.

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