Nature-based solutions, you know?

Nature-Based Solutions or SFN encourages the integration of more biodiversity into territorial projects to ensure their sustainable development while investing in the conservation and restoration of ecosystems.

What is a nature-based solution?

Nature-based solutions are defined as actions aimed at protect, manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems directly address societal challenges in a way efficient and adaptableand at the same time secure human well-being and by producing benefits for biodiversity (Source: IUCN, 2016).

Biodiversity conservation is a major societal problem that Nature-based Solutions aims to reconcile with other challenges such as mitigating and combating climate change, preventing natural risks, improving health, water supply and socio-economic development.

Raised in 2009 during the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the concept of nature-based solutions is included in the Global Program of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature – IUCN 2013. At the end of COP21 (2015) saw on the occasion of the World Conservation Congress (2016) saw NFS recognize their place at the international level in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
In France, the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change – PNACC 2 (2018-2022) and the Biodiversity Plan (2018) promote their application.

Nature-based solutions are available in three types of actions that can be mobilized alone or in combination in the areas:

  • conservation of functional ecosystems in good ecological condition;
  • improved management of ecosystems for the sustainable use of human activities;
  • Restoration degraded ecosystems or the creation of ecosystems.

Close to the notions of agroecology and ecological engineering, maintaining distant relationships with bio-mimicry or bio-inspiration, they reserve an essential place for the preservation and preservation of natural processes.

Agroecology Goal on put ecology to heart design of systems agricultural to increase sustainabilityat a less appeal to input and to energies fossilsand to increase resilience face to dangers various where to the is exposed.

IN: Thierry Kaglerende, Chantal Gascuel, Michele Tixier Boichard, Agroecology : of research for transition of door and of territories. Eeditions Quae (Versailles)January 2020.

Some examples of INRAE ​​work

The concept has been approached by several INRAE ​​teams, especially for design and evaluation of learning management approaches and diversification practices.

Nature-based solutions address societal challenges by relying on the many ecosystem services that nature provides while performing actions to manage, conserve and restore biodiversity.
The Life Artisan project – Increasing the Resilience of Territories to Climate Change by Incentive for Nature-Based Adaptation Solutions (EU 2020-2027), of which INRAE ​​is a partner, focuses on the challenges of adapting to climate change through several objectives: demonstrating and improving the potential and Nature-Based Adaptation Solutions (SAFN); raise awareness and increase the skills of stakeholders on this theme and support and strengthen SAFN projects throughout the national territory (including overseas).
Around 40 actions and 10 pilot sites should make it possible to create a framework that promotes the deployment of nature-based adaptation solutions in all them weights.

SFNs find many applications in water management, whether it is a matter of preserving its quality or reducing the inherent natural risks (floods, waves or even droughts) while preserving biodiversity.

Rainwater from runoff from urban roads, known for its high pollution of metallic and organic micro-pollutants, is likely to contribute to the degradation of receptive aquatic environments. Centered on an innovative prototype that combines green and gray techniques, located in the Bois de Boulogne (92), The Life Adsorb project – An efficient purification system for water runoff and biodiversity conservation (EU, 2018-2023)of which INRAE ​​is a partner, is testing new methods of purifying water mainly from rainwater runoff from the Paris ring road. In the long run, Life Adsorb will contribute to the implementation of various directives on water, urban wastewater, floods and even bathing water.


To restore the shores of streams, jewels of biodiversity that are now much degraded, construction technology seems to be an increasingly promising solution. At INRAE, civil engineering specialists applied to banks analyze their behavior when exposed to strong loads. The aim: to improve the design methods for these structures to, ultimatelyto offer designers effective solutions, even in extreme contexts (learn more).

Terrestrial environments can also benefit from the use of DBS with a view to restoring ecosystems or improving their management for sustainable use while creating biodiversity benefits.


The development of mountain territories is accompanied by numerous developments (eg construction of ski slopes), which are likely to weaken or even destroy the soil and plant cover. Whether to combat erosion, rehabilitate the landscape or preserve biodiversity, these spaces need to be restored. INRAE ​​is now contributing to the establishment of a revegetation sector using local seeds to restore the alpine mountain environment (learn more).


The intensification of agricultural practices and the disappearance of semi-natural habitats around fields have led to a general decline in bird communities in European agricultural landscapes. An international team coordinated by INRAE ​​studied the bird communities in the vineyards of 12 wine regions in France, Spain and Italy. Their results show that the diversity of bird communities is favored by the combination of organic viticulture, grass cover between the rows of vines and the diversity of habitats that make up the landscape. (Find out more).


Wine landscape in Colmar

INRAE ​​researchers have analyzed the effects of viticulture practices on biodiversity at different trophic levels. Their work shows contrasting effects of certified or non-certified organic farming systems compared to so-called conventional systems. They emphasize the importance of analyzing the effects of viticulture practices, in particular the degree of soil disturbance, the use of insecticides and the level of copper in the soil, in order to understand the link between agriculture and biodiversity (learn more).


Plaine & Val de Sèvre workshop area in Chize

In agricultural landscapes, grasslands are important to support the natural biological regulation of plant pests.
These spaces contain the natural enemies of pests and thus contribute to effective and sustainable biological control, a real alternative to the use of plant health products (learn more).

And tomorrow?

Although INRAE ​​has already been involved in several works on Nature-based Solutions, research needs to be further developed to increase knowledge and know-how in this regard.
The surveys at perform is source to research so much disciplinary the interdisciplinary since they unite of approaches in ecologyin geoscience and in science human and social.

It is also necessary to be able to show the benefits of DFS, while drawing attention to their limits, because everything is -one questions balance (eg plants installed on rock embankments on river banks can improve their ecological value, but should not compromise their resistance in case of excessive growth).


Cévennes National Park, seen from Mont Aigoual with a view to the north

that replanting spontaneous of ours mountains… Well or Wrong for biodiversity ?
Truth in-this side of The Pyrenees, error to-of “. This thought by pascal could to sum up them working only one crew of researchers have led, analyze them foundations social, cultural and policies of one debate, organic in appearance, in fire areas protected in France, Spain and Scotland (Find out more).


Cartogeo Statistics Office.  Here is a map showing lead contamination in soil.

For more than 20 years, INRAE ​​researchers have studied the distribution of metal pollutants in the soil near a former metallurgical site. The lead and zinc content as well as their distribution in these soils differ depending on the use of the soil. These results underline the need to take into account the occupation and more generally the management of soil in order to better understand the dynamics of metallic elements in soil (find more).

Multidisciplinary, multi-actor, original because of their multi-benefits nature … Nature-based solutions concerns both aquatic and terrestrial environments – without forgetting the interface environments. The is today‘so much more relevant than there are really many options for implementing them.

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