The idea of using nature to solve environmental problems is not new – it is the concept
nature-based solutions (NBS) that is new. Since long, solutions related to flooding, pollution of soil, water and air, and human health and wellbeing have been developed and implemented. These solutions usually have their dedicated scientific discipline, exploring
how the solutions can be improved, and implemented. Many of the solutions also have
their own practice, filled with knowledge on the practical implementation. Occasionally
this science/practice area even has dedicated concepts, such as ecosystem-based adaptation and green infrastructure.
The aim of this focus paper is to inform policy and decision makers about what the NBS
concept is, how it is used and interpreted in science and practice, as well as its relation to
other ecosystem-based green concepts. We ground the focus paper on a scientific literature review of peer-reviewed publications and a stakeholder analysis of Swedish actors at different societal levels and with different roles (see appendix A for details on the
The focus paper consists of three sections and a final reflection. In the first section, we
give an overview of how the NBS concept has evolved and how it is defined. In section two
and three, we describe the uptake and use of the NBS concept in science, respectively in
practice. In the section focussing on science, we have a global perspective, and in the
section focussing on practice, we have a Swedish perspective. For both sections, we ask
questions such as, who use the concept, what solutions is conceptualised as NBS and how
does it relate to other concepts? The final reflection aims to lift the perspectives and discuss advantages as well as disadvantages with the concept using the information presented in earlier sections.