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Adapting to a Changing Climate through Nature-Based Solutions

Abinash Mohanty, Shreya Wadhawan
July 2022 | Climate Resilience

Suggested Citation: Mohanty, Abinash. 2022. Adapting to a Changing Climate Through Nature-Based Solutions. Under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022 R. Brears (ed.), The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Futures. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51812-7_313-1


This chapter presents a grim reminder that actions on adaptation (and mitigation) are not sufficient yet, and there are gaps with regard to avoiding and reducing risks. With the world en route to face the harsher impacts of climate change through rising climate extremities and slow onset events, the chapter highlights the gaps in avoiding and reducing climate risks. Further, this chapter covers the sector-specific hazard-linked Nature-based solutions (NbS) and interventions that can be piloted and scaled in India to mitigate the extent of loss and damage caused due to hydro-met disasters. It highlights how these interventions will be pivotal in restoring, rehabilitating, and rejuvenating the ecosystems that can hinder the climate change impacts.

Key Highlights:

  • NbS can be implemented to intervene in major challenges such as urban flooding as compared to other hydrometeorological hazards.
  • The targeted interventions can mitigate flooding extremities by intervening at a landscape level. The co-benefits of these interventions can support soil quality restoration and build resilience by greening the buffer zones.
  • Mangroves are the most rampantly used cyclone mitigating NbS that is naturally implemented and scaled across both eastern and western coasts. They can mitigate risks by more than 90 per cent in terms of restricting the tidal flows.
  • Beyond mangroves, T-shaped groynes, coral reefs and sand dunes are suggested to be pivotal for mitigating the impacts of cyclones.
  • Managing extreme droughts through NbS entails watershed management practices, which are primarily targeted to manage agricultural droughts. Agroforestry and anti-salt bunds can provide benefits that outlast risks across different regions, including that of coastal areas.

Key Recommendations:

  • Implement NbS-at-scale through system innovations. This can bring policy coherence and integrate socioeconomic, developmental, and environmental governance unification.
  • Finance nature-based infrastructures like wetlands, mangroves, forest ecosystems along with highlighted and targeted bioengineering interventions like bio-dykes, and anti-sand dunes.
  • Restore, rebuild and invest in nature-based solutions. This can make India’s cities and villages more climate-resilient and alter the adverse impacts of climate change.
  • Mainstream and promote climate responsive NbS through a constitutionally mandated body. This can create means and ways to mainstream and implement NbS-at-scale.
Implementing Nature-based solutions at scale through system innovations can bring policy coherence and integrate socio-economic, developmental, and environmental governance unification to mitigate climate risk impacts.

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