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What do we mean by nature-based solutions?

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Savills is a global real estate services provider advising clients with rural, residential and commercial property assets.

Multiple nature-based solutions

© Savills

Breaking down the jargon

Nature-based solutions is a term used to describe actions that protect, restore and sustainably use natural resources to address social, economic and environmental challenges. 

Food and renewable energy are common examples of nature-based solutions, but new opportunities are emerging for a wider range of services to be provided by land.

These include adaption to climate change, reversing biodiversity loss, improving society’s mental and physical health, and offering access to nutritious food. 

Delivering solutions

Creating a nature-based solution often means making an intervention in how we manage our natural resources in order to produce better environmental or social benefits.

Because these benefits are valuable, farmers and land managers can be paid to provide the nature-based solution; typically, they would not provide them unless a transaction enables them to.

Newly planted trees

© Savills

Growing demand

Demand for nature-based solutions is increasing as a result of increasing environmental regulation and changing perceptions of business risk.

There is a growing understanding that investing in nature-based solutions can reduce long-term business costs and increase the environmental resilience of assets and supply chains.

Financing nature-based solutions

Farmers and land managers can receive support to deliver nature-based solutions from government schemes.

The future Environmental Land Management schemes in England and the Sustainable Farming Scheme in Wales are likely to focus on nature-based solutions such as woodland and habitat creation.

Flower meadow

© Savills

There is also growing appetite from investors to fund the creation of nature-based solutions.

The return on investment is dependent on selling ecosystem services to private buyers of environmental outcomes, such as water companies, carbon offsetters or insurance companies.

Farmers and land managers may also want to fund the creation of nature-based solutions themselves, retaining the environmental outcomes for their own benefit, such as river restoration to mitigate the impact of flooding on cropland.  

To learn more about the leading examples of nature-based solutions for land managers in the UK, plus the underlying drivers for environmental action, sources of finance and an update on values, read our latest Savills research, Spotlight: Nature-based solutions.