The concept of nature-based solutions (NbS) arguably has the potential to help alleviate societal challenges in sustainable ways (European Commission 2015, p.4). A case in point are NbS in river landscapes, such as restoring floodplains, which not only decrease flood risks for downstream communities, but also provide benefits for biodiversity and enhance the provision of diverse ecosystem services (de Vriend et al. 2014; Kabisch et al. 2016). The aim of this paper is to explore how landscape planning and governance can contribute to the identification, development and realization of NbS for water-borne challenges in river landscapes. The research objectives are (i) to characterize NbS for this specific field of application, (ii) to conceptualize how landscape planning and governance could fulfil requirements of the realization of NbS within coupled ecological and social landscape systems, and (iii) to synthesize pathways through which NbS could be realized. The methods are a conceptual framework development, a focused literature review (Nesshöver et al. 2016; Raymond et al. 2017), and an exemplary application for a case study in the Lahn River Landscape, Germany. We characterize NbS for well-defined societal challenges in river landscapes and present a conceptual framework of the relationships between NbS, landscapes, planning, and governance. The potential contributions of landscape planning and governance to seven requirements for NbS realization are discussed, including the need to develop land use options that harness multifunctionality, to synthesize and advance empirical evidence on the impacts of NbS on biodiversity, ecosystem services, and other societal targets, to handle complexity and uncertainty, and to integrate diverse knowledge types and values through involving multiple stakeholders. Finally, pathways for NbS realization are explored, referring both to the range of suitable governance instruments and, more specifically, relevant contents and procedures from landscape planning. We close with recommendations for further research and practical experimentation, in particular to establish empirical evidence of NbS effects and to test actionable planning strategies and governance approaches.
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Raymond, C.M. et al., 2017. An impact evaluation framework to support planning and evaluation of nature-based solutions projects. Report prepared by the EKLIPSE Expert Working Group on Nature-based Solutions to Promote Climate Resilience in Urban Areas, Wallingford, United Kingdom. Available at: http://www.eklipse-mechanism.eu/apps/Eklipse_data/website/EKLIPSE_Report....
de Vriend, H.J. et al., 2014. Sustainable hydraulic engineering through building with nature. Journal of Hydro-environment Research, 9(JUNE), pp.1–13. Available at: http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1570644314000653.