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because, if you are helped by Nature in the

forestry business, there are advantages,

including lower costs and the use of fewer

resources, for example in the natural

regeneration of forests.

We are typically using plantations to recover our

forests. When relying on natural regeneration,

you are using fewer resources whilst indirectly

helping adaptation alongside climate change,

because the plants that are regenerating are

often more adapted to the system and to

climate change compared to those that are

being planted.

To what extent do policy makers

understand the potential of Nature-

based solutions?

There is a long way to go. From a policy level,

Nature-based processes are accepted as

politically correct, but in terms of the actual

work, there is a long way to go. From a

scientific and technical point of view, these

systems are not yet completely demonstrated

in a scale that allows them to be widely

accepted. There is a need to upscale solutions

in order for them to be adopted more generally.

How adequate are EU programmes

at supporting such developments?

Most EU-supported projects have been from

the science and technical side, and efforts are

now being made to undertake demonstration

projects. But there is always a difficulty when

discussing the toughest aspects of climate

change in extreme events: heatwaves, extreme

precipitation events, extreme droughts with

wildfires, etc. For example, one of the main

success stories of Nature-based solutions in

wildfires is in Western Australia, where

prescribed fires have been used for many

decades, thus avoiding extreme wildfire events.

This timescale of decades is also important for

finding solutions in forestry. It has now been

proposed for the Amazon in Brazil – and

presented during this Green Week – which now

has a 50-year plan for sustainable forestry,

O

ne of the topics discussed at Green Week 2015 was the

role that Nature and its ecosystems can play to reduce

the risk from natural hazards. According to the European

Commission, ‘natural infrastructure can provide flexible, cost-

effective, no-regret solutions for climate protection, with positive

impacts on local livelihoods and the environment’.

In June, Portal attended this three-day conference in Brussels and heard

from a leading panel of policy makers and researchers on the role that

Nature-based solutions can play in providing a cost effective answer to

climate change whilst bringing benefits to the local environment and the

people who share it.

Following his address to delegates, Portal spoke to Professor Francisco

Castro Rego, of the Centre for Applied Ecology at the University of Lisbon,

Portugal, who detailed the role of Nature-based solutions, his thoughts

on European policy making, and reducing the impact of natural hazards.

He concluded that clear benefits could be gained when bringing together

natural capital, the environment and economics.

To what extent are Nature-based solutions helping to

combat the problems of climate change?

Nature-based solutions will be very efficient in two key areas: helping

with financial issues and fighting or adapting to climate change. They

are especially useful in southern countries where we are facing climate

change because we have more frequent droughts and an extensive

wildfire threat.

In the short term, we are very much constrained by finances. Nature-

based solutions are much more efficient from a financial point of view

I S S U E S E V E N

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

www.horizon2020projects.com

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S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : C L I M AT E A C T I O N

Nature’s solution

At Green Week 2015,

Portal

spoke to the University of Lisbon’s

Professor

Francisco Castro Rego

about the role of Nature-based solutions in tackling

climate change and cutting the risk of natural hazards

Nature-based

solutions offer both

environmental and

financial benefits