Knowledge update: More research exists on urban solutions than on forest NbS

There is more research on nature-based solutions and green infrastructure than other ecosystem types. Photo by Anastasiya Dalenka on Unsplash.

New research on nature-based solutions by S-itutation partners in Sweden gives us useful insights in the existing knowledge on NbS.

In January, the report Nature-based solutions – what is the new concept about? was published.

The aim of the report was to inform policy and decision makers about what the nature-based solution (NBS) concept is, how it is used and interpreted in science and practice, as well as its relation to other ecosystem-based green concepts.

The report was commissioned by the Swedish Ministry of Trade and Industry and is written by researchers who are part of the S-ITUATION project group Helena Hanson, Lisa Lorentzi Wall, and Johanna Alkan Olsson at the Centre for Environmental and Climate Science, Lund University.

Majority of publications on urban solutions

The results show that scientific publications on NBS have increased a lot in recent years, with a main uptake among researchers focusing on the European context. Among the Nordic countries, most NBS research covers the Swedish context, followed by Denmark and Norway.

A majority of the included publications focus on the urban land use context, with less focus on the arable and forestry contexts. The NBS concept links to several different research areas, ecosystems and solutions.

The studied solutions vary from large-scale ecosystem related approaches (e.g., re-foresting riparian areas for disaster risk reduction) to small-scale NBS (e.g., biological infiltration beds for runoff water purification).

The land-use context covered by the
publications analysed in the report. Source: Hanson et al. 2022.

Getting more knowledge on implementation

Another part of the report was a stakeholder analysis of Swedish actors at a national, regional, and local scale working with NBS.

The result clearly shows that there is an ongoing uptake and implementation of the concept in Sweden, with a focus on the urban land-use context. This kind of stakeholder analysis will now be performed for the other Nordic countries, to give an idea of how the NBS concept is used and implemented on different levels in the Nordic countries.

The report provides a valuable basis for our further work on gathering and analysing knowledge about Nature-based Solutions in the Nordic countries.

First stakeholder workshop

15 November 2021 the first stakeholder workshop in S-ITUATION was arranged.

One of the aims was to learn more about the stakeholders’ concept of Nature-based Solutions. The image above shows the result of a poll among the participants.

S-ITUATION is relevant for many stakeholders, and the stakeholder consultation group is an important element in our work to map NBS across the Nordic countries.

Stakeholder consultation

By consulting relevant stakeholders, S-ITUATION can ensure high relevance of the literature review process and the synthesis report summarizing NbS activities in the Nordic countries.

The stakeholders in the project are people from different organizations across the Nordic countries, with knowledge and experience covering the full breadth of Nordic ecosystems and all types of solutions. Several activities are planned in the future to include their and other stakeholders knowledge and perspectives throughout the project.

The first meeting was held digitally on Teams 15. November 2021. The stakeholders were from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. Most worked in various national, regional or local public bodies.

Group work

The participants were divided into groups according to what kind of ecosystems they are most familiar with and most interested in. The image below shows the ecosystems covered.

Results from a poll during the workshop.

The aims of the workshop were to:

  • Learn to what degree the concept of NbS is used across different disciplines and ecosystem types.
  • Introduce the IUCN global standard for NbS and discuss its applicability in Nordic Countries and in Nordic ecosystems.
  • Uncover implementation barriers and knowledge gaps for NbS.
  • Find out how the S-ITUATION project can extract useful and usable knowledge for the stakeholders’ daily work with NbS.
  • Give participants an opportunity to exchange experiences with other Nordic stakeholders working with NbS.

Need for more knowledge

The group discussions were good, and proceedings on the meeting will guide the work going forward.

It was especially interesting that several stakeholders highlighted the need for more knowledge and evidence on the costs, benefits and effectiveness of NbS to underpin arguments for why NbS should be preferred over traditional engineering solutions.

Thank you to all the stakeholders for valuable inputs in this workshop. We look forward to continuing working with many of you!

See the program for the workshop:

Nature-based Solutions at COP26

The UN climate conference COP26 is nearly over. The interlinked crisis of biodiversity loss has been highlighted at the conference this year.

As stated by the UN: “As there is no pathway to net zero without protecting and restoring nature, we are encouraging countries to include nature-based solutions in their climate plans”. 

Biodiversity was also highlighted by the Nordic countries during the COP, with several events that you can watch here.

First partner work shop

The first work shop with all the partners was arranged digitally 6. september 2021.

In the work shop we started planning how we can get the best overview of different nature-based solutions in the Nordics. The partners have already divided responsibilities and different ecosystems – read more about that here.

The S-ITUATION team’s favourite ecosystems

We also got to know each other and our skills and competences better. Above is for example an image of all the participants favourite ecosystems ❤
We look forward to the work ahead!


We are excited to launch this website which will be the home of S-ITUATION – a research project on Nature-based solutions (NbS) in the Nordic countries.

What are Nature-based Solutions? Learn more!

The aim of the project is to synthesize and present existing research on NbS relevant to the Nordic context, including relevant projects and experiences, policies, knowledge gaps and cost-benefit analyses.

S-ITUATION aims to synthesize the knowledge on Nature-based Solutions relevant to the Nordic countries.

The project will be carried out by highly experienced researchers in the field. Together, we represent research institutes in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Read more about us and what we do

S-ITUATION is the first project in the Nordic Council of Ministers’ new programme on nature-based solutions.

The purpose of the programme is to encourage the Nordic countries to work together and enhance their knowledge base on nature-based solutions, restoration, climate mitigation and blue/green infrastructure. This will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect and improve biodiversity.