Nature can help us address the biggest challenges facing our world. 

Nature-based solutions (NbS) are actions that harness the power of nature to protect, manage and/or restore ecosystems in a way that benefits people, nature, and climate.

These actions address a range of societal challenges like climate change, human health, food and water security, and disasters.

An example of a nature-based solution is the restoration of mangrove forests that maintain critical habitats for local wildlife, protect nearby homes from rising sea levels, and provide income opportunities for community members.

Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) have applied nature-based solutions for millennia. It is essential that nature-based solutions are people-centred and led by communities - embracing innovation and First Peoples Knowledge, amplifying Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities voices to ensure they are inclusive, transparent, and just for communities and nature.

Why are nature-based solutions important?

Our planet is fighting a three-way battle with biodiversity loss, climate change and equitable development.

Around a million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction - more than ever before in human history. Climate related extreme weather events occur more frequently, threatening communities and their food and water supplies. Half of the world’s economy comprises industries like agriculture, fisheries, forestry and tourism that depend on the planet’s natural assets.

Furthermore, the impacts of climate change are not equal, as the communities that contribute the least to human-induced climate change, including the First Nations Peoples of Australia and Torres Strait, will bear the worst impacts.

Nature-based solutions are an opportunity to address these problems and are essential to building a nature-positive future by providing essential services such as carbon storage, ensuring food and water supplies and buffering against the impacts of a warming world.

Challenges nature-based solutions can help solve

Climate adaptation

It helps people and nature better adapt to our changing climate by minimising or completely halting the introduction of new climate hazards and improving resilience to future risks.

Human Health

It helps reduce the transfer of disease caused by the destruction of habitats or the consumption and sale of wildlife, leading to better mental and physical well-being.

Food security

It helps support more sustainable agricultural and fisheries methods that ensure people have continual access to sufficient, safe and nutritious foods.

Water security

It helps inform more resilient water practices that consider the impacts of increasing extreme weather events like floods and droughts while minimising the current contributions to a warming planet.

Climate change mitigation

NbS can provide more than one-third of the cost-effective solutions needed to mitigate climate change between now and 2030, removing five gigatons of carbon dioxide.

What WWF is doing

WWF works globally to promote nature-based solutions and prioritises actions that benefit people, nature and climate. We develop measurable, people-centred initiatives worldwide that harness nature-based solutions and emphasise the benefits of protecting and restoring nature to businesses, cities, communities and governments. 

We are working to: 

  • Develop science-based guidance for field-based interventions. 
  • Partner with initiatives that boost nature-based solutions. 
  • Advocate for policy changes and inclusion of nature-based solutions in more countries climate pledges. 
  • Make nature-based solutions a part of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Global Biodiversity Framework to help strengthen alignment between climate and nature conventions. 
  • Advocate for nature-based solutions to be people-centric - carefully planned, designed and implemented with the right of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities at the forefront. 
  • Encouraging the use of IUCN’s Global Standard of Nature-based Solutions. 

At WWF-Australia, our flagship program Climate Resilient by Nature, supported by the Australian Government, is advancing high-integrity, equitable nature-based solutions to climate change in the Indo-Pacific to support communities to be more socially, economically, and ecologically resilient. 

Where we work

The Climate Resilient by Nature program consists of ten projects spanning nine countries.

WWF Reports

Read and learn some through our nature-based solutions reports