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How can European countries share their perspectives

and learn from projects and methods?

One of the issues is sharing experiences and having a firm

communication on good experiences. As a leader of a forestry project

on wildfires, one of the main difficulties is finding permanent ways to

communicate and train people in order to gain experience from other

sites, especially on extreme events.

With climate change, people will have to face extreme events, and

extreme events are very rare by definition. We have to upscale and adapt

the European dimension in order to understand the examples and learn

from what is happening in different situations. This is a challenge for the

EU in order to maintain a kind of permanent communication and training,

sharing experiences to cope with extreme events.

What impact is the changing use of land patterns

having on natural hazards today?

In the forestry sector, there is an idea that the use of biomass can

compete with traditional forest uses, for example with paper, timber for

construction, etc. Yet, as with everything, if it is well balanced, the use of

biomass can be a very significant tool in forest management.

In Portugal, there is a biomass power plant that has been operating for

12 years. Recently, when undertaking a small study on the impact of its

existence, including on wildfires, findings have clearly shown that within

a radius of about 30km there is a significant decrease in fires happening

in that area. This could be because of biomass use, and this could be a

very interesting concept to analyse the use of biomass. If biomass is

used in a balanced way, it can significantly improve forest management.

keeping the Amazon forests intact but being

productive, as well.

We need to do this on a long timescale in order

to have real demonstrations and prove that

Nature-based solutions really are effective, but

the EU’s idea of having demonstration projects

is a very good initial push in that direction.

Professor Francisco Castro Rego

University of Lisbon

B R OW S E

www.greenweek2015.eu www.ulisboa.pt

H O R I Z O N

2 0 2 0

www.horizon2020projects.com

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

I S S U E S E V E N

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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

Defining the solution

In 2015, the Horizon 2020 expert group on ‘Nature-based solutions

and re-naturing cities’ released its report investigating the potential

of such solutions. Recognising the relative originality of Nature-

based solutions, they began by drawing a definition to assist in the

study’s work.

‘Nature-based solutions aim to help societies address a variety of

environmental, social and economic challenges in sustainable

ways. They are actions which are inspired by, supported by or

copied from Nature. Some involve using and enhancing existing

natural solutions to challenges, while others are exploring more

novel solutions, for example mimicking how non-human organisms

and communities cope with environmental extremes.

‘Nature-based solutions use the features and complex system

processes of Nature, such as its ability to store carbon and regulate

water flow, in order to achieve desired outcomes, such as reduced

disaster risk, improved human wellbeing and socially inclusive

green growth. Maintaining and enhancing natural capital, therefore,

is of crucial importance, as it forms the basis for implementing

solutions. These Nature-based solutions ideally are energy and

resource efficient, and resilient to change, but to be successful they

must be adapted to local conditions.’

The expert group drew together four objectives that could

harness the benefits of Nature-based solutions whilst helping to

overcome challenges:

n

‘Enhancing sustainable urbanisation through Nature-based

solutions can stimulate economic growth as well as improving

the environment, making cities more attractive, and enhancing

human wellbeing;

n

Restoring degraded ecosystems using Nature-based solutions

can improve the resilience of ecosystems, enabling them to

deliver vital ecosystem services and also to meet other

societal challenges;

n

Developing climate change adaptation and mitigation using

Nature-based solutions can provide more resilient responses

and enhance the storage of carbon; and

n

Improving risk management and resilience using Nature-based

solutions can lead to greater benefits than conventional

methods and offer synergies in reducing multiple risks.’

Nature-based

solutions are also

helping to provide

greater resilience to

climate change