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expert reaction to report looking at nature-based solutions for climate change in the UK by the British Ecological Society

A report by the British Ecological Society (BES) looks at nature-based solutions for climate change in the UK.

This Roundup accompanied an SMC Briefing.


Prof Phil Stevenson, Senior Researcher, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew said:

“Never has humanity faced such existential global challenges from climate change and biodiversity loss – our need for mitigation is incredibly urgent.  

“Nature-based solutions (NbS) are natural processes and ecosystems that can be used to effectively address these global challenges at once. For example, forests can capture carbon, prevent flooding and provide habitat for animals, plants and fungi whilst diverse agricultural habitats can harness pollinators, create natural pest regulation and produce healthy soils for sustainable food production. However, for NbS to work effectively they require the ecosystems on which they depend to be healthy yet we are destroying these crucially important natural resources faster than ever, and just when we need them most. 

“The British Ecological Society report on NbS provides an essential comprehensive assessment of UK habitats and the key natural processes that will underpin how we can combat climate change and biodiversity loss. Supported by a wealth of scientific evidence of the impacts of these challenges on human health, biodiversity loss and climate and the critical processes required to deliver NbS, the report provides a template for global recovery whilst identifying key knowledge gaps. This report will be a critical resource for those delivering change and for organisations such as the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew who are generating new knowledge about the plants and fungi that underpin healthy ecosystems.”


Prof Joanna Clark, Professor of Environmental Science, University of Reading, said:

“Restoring nature has great potential to help us manage flood and drought risk.  This includes things like tree planting in the wider catchment or even planting new hedgerows as well as looking at farming practices that encourage building soil organic matter to improve soil structure and help water sink in to the ground rather than running over the surface and quickly in to rivers during storms.

“Grasslands have great potential to capture carbon and reduce flood and drought risk, and these areas have been overlooked because of the focus on tree planting.”


Prof Rob Brooker, Head of Ecological Sciences at the James Hutton Institute, said:

“The report highlights the huge range of benefits we get from nature, and – perhaps more importantly – that there needn’t be trade-offs between nature conservation and delivery of the ecosystem services we get from the natural environment. Nature conservation goes hand-in-hand with tackling urgent issues such as climate change, and we all need to work with nature to help address these global environmental challenges.”


Prof Ken Norris, Head of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, said:

“If the roof blows off your house, you get it fixed as quickly as possible because if you don’t, you and your family will experience all sorts of problems. This report tells us that nature is like the roof on all of our houses – it is essential for our health and well-being and by fixing nature we can improve our lives. This is a simple and powerful message. We all need to hear it, but most of all, we need to take action and get the roof fixed!”



‘Nature-based Solutions for Climate Change in the UK: A Report by the British Ecological Society’ was posted on BES’s website at 00:01 UK time on Wednesday 12th May.



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