A new paper suggests that hazards and nature’s contributions to people (NCP) indicators are not the main drivers of Nature-based solutions (NbS) implementation.

The paper, co-authored by MRI SLC member Ignacio Palomo, argues that integrating local climate conditions and current nature’s contributions to people (NCP) flows is needed to underpin a macro-regional strategy for planning Nature-based solutions (NbS) implementation.


Climate change impacts social-ecological systems in mountainous areas by increasing certain natural disasters and changing nature’s contributions to people (NCP). Nature-based solutions (NbS) are increasingly implemented to help local communities adapt to climatic hazards. However, the relevance of their location in relation to those hazards and local NCP has hardly been addressed. In the PORTAL (Pathways of Transformation in the Alps) project, we identified and mapped a portfolio of 97 NbS for climate change adaptation in the European Alps. Most NbS addressed drought or soil instability and aimed to provide multiple NCP simultaneously such as wood production and protective function against landslides. We analysed whether NbS are located where they are the most needed, according to both current and future intensity of the hazards they aim to address and to supply-flow-demand indicators of the NCP they aim to provide. We found that the location of NbS is not overall related to current supply-flow-demand indicators of most NCP, nor to the intensity of hazards. Nevertheless, NbS addressing droughts and floods are located in areas where these hazards are more intense, but do not match higher values for NCP indicators. Conversely, NbS aiming to produce wood and to provide protective function against landslides are located in areas with greater levels of these NCP, regardless of the intensity of hazards. These results suggest that hazards and NCP indicators are not the main drivers of NbS implementation. We argue that integrating local climate conditions and current NCP flows is needed to underpin a macro-regional strategy for planning NbS implementation.

Paper Highlights

  • The authors found that NbS are implemented in the Alps to tackle the diverse impacts of climate change and to increase or maintain the supply of several NCP.
  • While few NbS are located within hotspots of climate change hazards, such as for droughts and current floods, NbS are generally not located within the hotspots of the current or future hazards they claim to address, neither within NCP hotspots nor where they coincide.
  • The authors' findings suggest the need to integrate local climatic projections and NCP quantification into the future planning of NbS.


Dubo, T., Palomo, I., Camacho, L.L. et al. Nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation are not located where they are most needed across the Alps. Reg Environ Change 23, 12 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-022-01998-w

Read the paper

Cover image by Karsten Würth

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