Nature-Based Solutions on sustainable development issues

“What are the consequences of Nature-based solutions on sustainable development issues such as climate, biodiversity, land degradation, food security, human health?”


Students from the Master 2 CLUES, “Climate Land Use and Ecosystem Services” at University Paris-Saclay, spent some time working on Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) and their consequences on sustainable development issues such as climate, biodiversity, land degradation food security and human health (see figure below). Those targets (except human health) are the ones they studied through the various courses they followed.


Nature-based solution diagram


They worked in groups of 3 students, each group addressing a specific NBS: urban greening, increasing plant cover to reduce erosion, reforestation and afforestation to mitigate climate change or large-scale fire management. The groups were given the following two objectives :



1. Develop a scientific argument


Develop a scientific argument on the relevance of their specific nature-based solution for the various targets (highlighted in the above figure), on the potential co-benefits and adverse impacts.

  • from their knowledge and from reading the literature they explain the mechanisms through which the chosen solution impacts the various targets;
  • this is exemplified through one or two existing case-studies;
  • they have to question whether the published literature is sufficient to conclude on the negative/positive impacts the NBS will have


2. The formulation of a research question and the development of a proposal


The formulation of a research question and the development of a proposal to bring answers to this question.

  • the research question could address for example the needs to increase the number of variables measured on site to have a systemic diagnosis of the effects of the NBS;
  • the question could also target a lack of knowledge in the literature regarding the mechanisms through which the NBS will affect one of the targets we are looking at;
  • the proposal should explain how they will proceed to answer their question and be written as if they were asking for financial support.


This workshop is the final step in their work. They will have produced a written report prior to the workshop and they will present their conclusions during the workshop. They will have the opportunity to listen to a specialist in the theme they studied, and to take some time to interact with him/her. For each theme, a three-stroke waltz with about 40mns per stroke: students report on their work; an invited keynote speaker digs further into the questions; finally a discussion takes place between the students and the invited speaker, orchestrated by a moderator taken from the teaching community.