We really need to kick the carbon habit. 
- Sir David Attenborough
Accelerated climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and land degradation present a real and present danger to the natural resource base on which we depend for our survival. Numerous studies show that these increasingly existential threats are affecting societies in ways that are much more severe and multifaceted, than previously predicted. Nature-based solutions such as the sustainable management of watersheds, restoration of forests, or mangrove conservation offer systemic responses to today's complex developmental challenges.
By harnessing the power of nature, this transdisciplinary research cluster explores entry points for integrating sustainability targets across a range of sectors, including agriculture and food systems, health, and territorial development.


Ecosystem-based Adaptation

Ecosystem-based Adaptation

Promoting ecosystem approaches for managing social, economic and ecological priorities

There is no doubt that we need to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions to avoid catastrophic and irreversible impacts on society and nature. In addition to concerted decarbonisation efforts, nature plays a vital role in tackling the climate crisis. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, oceans, forests, and other ecosystems currently absorb more than half of man-made CO2- emissions. Similarly, the Intergovermental Science Policy Platform on Ecosystem Services has underscored the vital role that healthy ecosystems play in reducing vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.
Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) is a human- and nature-centred approach to climate change adaptation and sustainable development that focuses on safeguarding the resilience of biodiversity and ecosystem services. As such, EbA offers nature-based solutions for people and ecosystems to cope with the risks and impacts of climate change. 
A growing number of studies highlight EbA as a cost-effective, scalable and systemic, approach to address the negative impacts of land degradation, biodiversity loss, and climate change, and helping societies respond to food insecurity, poverty and other challenges.

Ocean Governance

Ocean Governance

Strengthening ecosystem-based approaches to regional marine governance

Marine ecosystems, resources, and species do not respect national borders. The effects of marine pollution and degradation are felt by us all. To conserve, and sustainably use ocean and marine ecosystems therefore requires integrated, and coherent approaches.
By looking at marine ecosystems in their totality, policy makers can ensure that interventions are well aligned in order to address the cumulative impacts of unsustainable human activities.
An ecosystem-based approach to ocean governance means, however, that individual states cannot do it alone. Multiple countries must work together to conserve and sustainably use their oceans, coasts, and marine resources. Regional organisations have an important role to play in creating this institutional landscape for the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources.

Soil Organic Carbon

Soil Organic Carbon

Leveraging carbon sequestration initiatives to enhance food security

The potential of land-based mitigation can be further unlocked by scaling up projects that encourage, enhance and incentivise sustainable agricultural land management, land restoration and soil organic carbon sequestration practices and activities.
Looking beyond their climate mitigation potential, our work on soil organic carbon is dedicated to identifying the conditions under which such initiatives can contribute to enhance food security and biodiversity. We investigate the challenges involved in operationalising carbon sequestration projects, exploring social and technical innovations that can enhance the benefits of such schemes for smallholder farmers, as well as reducing transaction costs.
Among other potential solutions, our research seeks to bring together diverse actors involved in remote sensing and other digital technologies to enhance the monitoring of carbon sequestration activities and open up pathways for recognising the contributions of smallholder farmers, pastoralists, indigenous communities, and other marginalised groups, in carbon markets.

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