Nature-based climate solutions require a mix of socioeconomic and governance attributes

Elsevier, iScience, Volume 25, Issue 12, 22 December 2022, 105699  
Ernest F. Asamoah, Joseph M. Maina

Nature-based climate solutions (NCS) can play a crucial role in reducing climate change. There is, however, a lack of understanding of the biophysical, social, and political contexts surrounding NCS, which hampers its practical implementation. Here, we used estimates of carbon sink potential to identify socioeconomic and ecological factors that may stimulate NCS implementation in developing economies. We considered carbon sink potential for eight NCS, including reforestation, peatland restoration, natural forest management, improved rice cultivation, optimal grazing intensity, grazing (legumes), avoided peatland impacts, and avoided coastal impacts. Food insecurity hotspots, which currently receive the most development aid, have the lowest likelihood of realizing NCS’ potential. Poor governance structures and food insecurity impede the implementation of NCS projects at the country level. By carefully assessing complementary food security, sustainable financing, and soil quality safeguards, NCS as a nationally determined contribution to climate mitigation can be made more effective.