Investments aligned with this Strategic Goal aim to protect, restore, and increase biodiversity, using nature to drive simultaneous benefits to ecosystems and society.

The sections below include an overview of the approach for achieving desired goals, supporting evidence, core metrics that help measure performance toward goals, and a curated list of resources to support collecting, reporting on, and using data for decision-making.

What

Dimensions of Impact: WHAT

Investors interested in deploying this strategy should consider the scale of the addressable problem, what positive outcomes might be, and how important the change would be to the people (or planet) experiencing it.

Key questions in this dimension include:

What problem does the investment aim to address? For the target stakeholders experiencing the problem, how important is this change?

Human action has led to the worldwide deterioration of nature and its vital contributions to human society, including biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services. Given past and ongoing rapid declines, most international societal and environmental goals for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services are under threat. The 2030 Biodiversity Targets and the biodiversity-related goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will not be achieved on current trajectories, which will undermine other goals, such as those specified in the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity (1). Investments in biodiversity will be required to preserve the wide range of services our ecosystems provide, including clean and healthy water and pollination. Such investments make ecosystems more resilient to disturbance and climate change and ensure durable, reliable delivery of those services deemed most important.

Nature-based solutions protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems for use as infrastructure that addresses societal challenges effectively and adaptively through the provision of natural services, simultaneously improving human well-being and biodiversity (2,3). (Nature-based solutions are notably distinct from nature-derived and nature-inspired solutions. Nature-derived solutions, such as solar energy, rely on nature but are not directly linked to ecosystems. Nature-inspired solutions, such as biomimicry, are designed with nature as a model [4].) Nature-based solutions can enhance and maintain the livability of human settlements for current and future generations. Connecting with nature in daily human life has become particularly recognized as important during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in urban and peri-urban areas, and public demands for greater attention to biodiversity and climate threats continue to grow at local and global scales. Nature-based solutions can form a core element of local, regional, and national policy initiatives to confront threats to biodiversity and climate (5).

Nature-based solutions include both "green" and "natural" infrastructure (6). Green infrastructure, a hybrid system, combines gray infrastructure with nature-based solutions to improve resilience to climate impacts and yield environmental, economic, and social co-benefits. Generally, green infrastructure comprises an engineered solution, such as green roofs, bioswales, fish migration channels, floodplains, or green spaces. Green infrastructure can provide a variety of ecosystem services, ranging from protecting pollinators and mitigating floods to conserving fish stocks, all of which can help cities avoid costs related to future climate events or overdevelopment. Given the accelerating pace of global urbanization, more efficient management of land and resources through green infrastructure will be needed to avoid future costs related to the severe effects of climate change and resource constraints.

While nature-based solutions can be more cost-effective than traditional gray infrastructure, barriers to implementation are complex, including change management, education, the need to create partnership linkages, and limited availability of capital for an emerging, less-understood sector. Of course, defining a clear business case and securing financing is a prerequisite to the success of nature-based solutions. Many industry stakeholders struggle to articulate the multiple benefits of nature-based solutions in financial terms, often due to limited or restricted data, limited research into quantified benefits, and lack of coordinated knowledge transfer. These gaps in turn can hinder the development of a well-defined business case, deterring decision-makers from investing in the design and implementation of nature-based solutions instead of conventional gray infrastructure to reduce disaster risk and adapt to climate change (7,8).

To implement nature-based solutions on a large scale, investors should consider the following.

  • A mix of green and gray infrastructure may be the best solution to meet the needs of stakeholders, as shown by cost-benefit and other analyses (9).
  • Governments and engineers may need sustained knowledge transfer on approaches to green infrastructure and nature-based solutions (10).
  • Multi-disciplinary research will be required to arrive at comprehensive approaches that give professionals an extensive basis for developing inclusive green solutions (11,12).
  • All stakeholders, and especially Indigenous populations and local societies, should be involved in the entire implementation process, from design to monitoring and evaluation (13).

Investments aligned with this Strategic Goal can:

  • protect or restore wetlands and forests to increase water retention and filtration;
  • support regenerative agriculture, forestry, or other land-based projects that increase the biodiversity of plants, wildlife, pollinator species, and soil microbiology;
  • finance projects led by Indigenous Peoples and local communities to protect natural ecosystems, such as those that produce non-timber forest products, as well as agriculture, aquaculture, and forestry projects more broadly that use sustainable and regenerative practices;*
  • finance green and hybrid infrastructure projects that mitigate stormwater surges and protect coastal areas; and
  • fund research and development of innovative technologies and approaches that enable the better protection and restoration of ecosystems.

*For more on sustainable agriculture and sustainable forestry, see the associated themes in IRIS+, which include more specific information on biodiversity and ecosystems within those projects. Nature-based solutions are also discussed at length in the Sustainable Water Management theme in IRIS+. Readers may also be interested in the GIIN’s Scaling Impact Investment in Forestry report and Understanding Impact Performance: Agriculture Investments.

What is the scale of the problem?

Generally, ecosystem extent and state decrease by at least 4% per decade. Only a quarter of terrestrial ecosystems are still untouched by humans to the extent that evolutionary and ecological processes can take place with minimal human intervention. Although natural solutions can be more cost-effective than traditional gray infrastructure, less than 1% of climate finance is currently spent on nature-based solutions. For example, in Bangladesh, a country experiencing extreme effects from climate change, just 12% of climate-change adaptation projects were nature-based solutions (15).

Who

Dimensions of Impact: WHO

Investors interested in deploying this strategy should consider whom they want to target, as almost every strategy has a host of potential beneficiaries. While some investors may target women of color living in a particular rural area, others may set targets more broadly, e.g., women. Investors interested in targeting particular populations should focus on strategies that have been shown to benefit those populations.

Key questions in this dimension include:

Who (people, planet, or both) is helped through investments aligned with this Strategic Goal?

Though investments aligned with this Strategic Goal could positively affect people and planet quite broadly, specific target stakeholders include the following.

  • Flora and fauna: Flora and fauna species risk extinction if their habitat is destroyed. By throwing ecological systems out of balance, this can cause additional social and economic damage directly to humans. Restoring, reconnecting, and protecting habitats at large scale can preserve above- and below-ground food webs and biodiversity.
  • Local communities and tourism: Healthy ecosystems have intrinsic value and cultural significance, particularly to local communities. Compared to man-made structures, nature-based solutions offer a more sustainable, more cost-efficient alternative (16). Green infrastructure benefits human health and reduces the risk of disaster. Communities can improve their standards of living cost-effectively way while simultaneously increasing local biodiversity. Incorporating nature into a city’s built environment makes it a more pleasant place to live. For developing countries, nature-based solutions are cost-effective and contribute to socio-economic development (17).
  • Soil: Green infrastructure can improve, among other things, soil stability, infiltration, and the amount of organic matter in soil, as well as preventing erosion (18). Healthy soils, a critical component of the biogeochemical processes that sustain life on Earth, guarantee resilient, buffered ecosystems that deliver strong biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Agriculture and forestry: Restoring and improving soils and landscapes through nature-based solutions realizes ecosystem services like nutrient regulation and fire prevention. Green solutions reduce the risk of flooding, drought, and erosion, facilitating the growth of biodiverse biomass (19). Implementing regenerative agricultural practices can transition agriculture from having negative environmental impact to providing environmental solutions, ensuring food and financial security for communities that depend on farming or forestry (20).
  • Climate: Nature-based solutions can mitigate 37% of climate change by 2030 (21). The conservation and restoration of coral reefs and mangroves use existing, natural structures to sequester large amounts of carbon dioxide (22,23). Incorporating such ecosystems in sustainable management strategies protects valuable plant and animal species and reduces global biodiversity loss. Healthy ecosystems can also reduce our vulnerabilities to climate change and its associated floods, droughts, and extreme weather.
  • Cities: Bringing infrastructure like green spaces, urban forests, green roofs, and green walls into densely built-up areas cools the urban climate and regulates air and water flows, mitigating the urban heat island effect that is detrimental to human health and comfort (24). Green infrastructure also provides a solution to the rising temperatures in the rural environments that surround cities (25). Natural alternatives to energy-consuming devices like air conditioners reduce energy consumption and, consequently, greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Businesses and private landowners: The World Economic Forum estimates that USD 44 trillion of economic value generation is moderately or highly dependent on nature (26). Healthy ecosystems provide food and material security, and they capture, purify, and store freshwater which can subsequently be used in production processes and consumption. As part of city redevelopment projects, green infrastructure makes urban landscapes more attractive to tourists, boosting the local economy (27).
  • Indigenous peoples: A strong working relationship can yield impressive mutual benefits for investors, Indigenous communities, and biodiversity. Though Indigenous peoples comprise only 5% of the global population, Indigenous communities, on territory they control, are responsible for roughly 80% of the world’s remaining forest biodiversity (28). Indigenous and community lands store at least 24% of the above-ground carbon in the world’s tropical forests. Often termed ‘Stewards of the Earth,’ Indigenous communities are a clear collaborative focus population for investments aligned with this Strategic Goal (29). Indigenous peoples are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people worldwide; measures are needed to protect their rights and preserve their cultures (30). For more information on Indigenous rights and Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), see IFC Performance Standard 7 on Indigenous People (31).
  • Communities of color and other marginalized groups: People of color often live and work in the most environmentally degraded and polluted areas as a result of historical and ongoing environmental racism (32). In many countries, including the United States, Black, Indigenous, and Person of Color (BIPOC) communities are often forced for economic reasons to host factories or other facilities with negative environmental and biodiversity-related impacts, such as manufacturing plants that discharge toxic chemicals and harmful gases. The effects of environmental racism decrease biodiversity in these areas and reduce ecosystem services that the environment can provide. Investing in regenerative projects in and near communities of color can support a just and sustainable future for those communities.

What are the geographic attributes of those who are affected?

Half of countries, including 90% of the least developed, indicate that nature-based solutions are part of their strategies for adapting to climate change. Such strategies often only set broad goals concerning rising sea levels and protection against flood and drought. Further elaboration of nature-based solutions with specific, measurable goals presents a clear opportunity for investors (33).

Approximately 60% of global biodiversity loss can be attributed to seven countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, China, India, Australia, and the United States. Conservation spending is most effective in low-income countries; one analysis found that global biodiversity conservation and climate stability goals depend on protecting 50 key ecoregions in just 20 countries, many of which intersect with Indigenous community areas (34).

Investments in nature-based solutions are happening worldwide, with the approach most prominent in the Americas and Southeast Asia. In terms of urban areas, cities in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia all report initiatives.

Contribution

Dimensions of Impact: CONTRIBUTION

Investors considering investing in a company or portfolio aligned with this strategy should consider whether the effect they want to have compares to what is likely to happen anyway. Is the investment's contribution ‘likely better’ or ‘likely worse’ than what is likely to occur anyway across What, How much and Who?

Key questions in this dimension include:

How can investments in line with this Strategic Goal contribute to outcomes, and are these investments’ effects likely better, worse, or neutral than what would happen otherwise

Organizations can consider contribution at two levels—enterprise and investor. At the enterprise level, contribution is “the extent to which the enterprise contributed to an outcome by considering what would have otherwise happened in absence of their activities (i.e., a counterfactual scenario).” To learn more about methods for assessing counterfactuals, see the Impact Management Project.

Investor contribution can be described those factors that investors have influence over that can proactively and positively influence proportional social and environmental outcomes. Investors can contribute toward addressing the larger issues of the degradation of ecosystem health as follows:

  • Signal that impact matters by investing in projects that use nature-based solutions, building networks and interest in the sector, and demonstrating commitment to addressing environmental and social problems through nature-based solutions. Nature-based projects can serve as illustrative case studies, offering starting points to set industry trends and standards. Investors can communicate the investment potential of nature-based solutions, monitoring the effectiveness of current nature-based projects and assets in producing ecosystem services, improving biodiversity, and driving positive outcomes for human societies.
  • Engage actively in the development, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation stages of investments in nature-based solutions, including providing technical assistance. Investors can engage policymakers and regulators to design better incentives to move away from business-as-usual scenarios towards biodiversity-positive practices. Tax credits, rebates, development incentives, and cost-sharing can minimize investment risks and thus motivate and spur collaboration among investors, both private and public. Investors should work to evaluate the effectiveness of their investments in nature-based solutions; strengthening the business case for nature-based solutions will be crucial (47,48). Importantly, investor engagement should not cover just those aspects of performance and policies relevant to investees’ own operations. Biodiversity impacts are highly contextual, defined mostly by the local vulnerability of ecosystems and the cumulative impacts of different stakeholders. As such, investors should mobilize alignment between project developers or companies building nature-based solutions and national or regional, integrated approaches to managing biodiversity. Recently, listed equity investors have begun to explore a platform for standardized collective shareholder engagement specifically on nature and biodiversity (49). Generating and disseminating monitoring and evaluation data will promote nature-based solutions, creating a virtuous cycle; an increasingly detailed knowledge base on their efficiency and cost-effectiveness will inform the further development of policies around land management and urban development (50). In addition, investors can work to transfer knowledge to local governments and engineers on the benefits of nature-based solutions and green infrastructure, together identifying further ways in which nearby communities and local plant and animal species can benefit from such projects.
  • Grow new and undersupplied capital markets by investing in previously overlooked opportunities to build nature-based solutions and green infrastructure. To implement or adopt nature-based solutions, land users (such as farmers, forest managers, or cities) need access to appropriately structured capital for their immediate and long-term needs. Investors can catalyze these underserved capital markets, particularly in regions where gray infrastructure remains widespread and dominant. Traditionally, governments have funded most capital investment in public infrastructure projects, but innovative Public-Private Partnerships have enabled opportunities for private investments in public infrastructure. For example, a consortium including Aberdeen Standard Investments, PGGM, and APG made investments to strengthen the Dutch Afsluitdijk, a large dike built in 1932 that protects the IJsselmeer in the Netherlands. Financial returns of the project were conditional on coastal defense criteria while simultaneously creating new nature opportunities for tourism and other economic activity (51).
  • Provide flexible capital. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are public goods whose true value is not reflected in economic transactions. Policy frameworks and voluntary markets are still developing. Therefore, "blended finance" is needed that leverages capital from public institutions or philanthropy to crowd in private capital. Many business models in biodiversity remain early stage, making it difficult to attract a broad range of investors to scale up (52). By providing flexible capital through blended finance vehicles and other products to landowners, farmers, communities, and businesses who work with stakeholders on nature-based solutions, investors can contribute to ecosystem or environmental health. Long-term investments can target outcomes in increased biodiversity, as well as research and development of tools that allow entrepreneurs to accelerate impact. Microfinance can also help sustain livelihoods and combat loss of biodiversity, as much of the population in biodiversity hotspots faces difficult economic situations. Long-term microcredits can incentivize microentrepreneurs, regardless of the scale of their activities, to invest and switch to best practice, sustainable, and diversified (e.g., agricultural) techniques that sustain natural resources (53).

How Much

Dimensions of Impact: HOW MUCH

Investors deploying capital into investments aligned with this strategy should think about how significant the investment's effect might be. What is likely to be the change's breadth, depth, and duration?

Key questions in this dimension include:

How many target stakeholders can experience the outcome through investments aligned with this Strategic Goal?

Nature-based solutions cost-effectively address multiple societal challenges while generating economic opportunities and employment (35). Greening cities can make them more attractive to new investors, residents, and visitors, while creating new green jobs in a variety of sectors (36). Nature-based projects, such as coastal habitat protection, can produce many more jobs per investment than in traditional infrastructure projects (for example, coal, gas, and nuclear power generation) (37,38). Nature-based solutions can also significantly reduce properly calculated costs to governments and individuals. For example, the annual costs of air pollution and poor mental health are estimated at EUR 166 billion and EUR 600 billion, respectively (39,40).

How much change can target stakeholders experience through investments aligned with this Strategic Goal?

Relying on ecosystem services instead of gray engineering can help us mitigate and adapt to climate change by avoiding floods, protecting pollinators, purifying water, and providing food, among other services. Adaptation to climate change will cost developing countries alone an estimated USD 140-300 billion per year by 2030 (41). Furthermore, a radically global policy response to climate change could lead to USD 7.7 trillion of forest-based solutions until 2050 (42). Green roofs, rain gardens, wildlife crossings, and permeable pavements are key components to building sustainable environments that can help us reach the goal of keeping global warming below 2°C (43,44).

Conservation investment from the 109 signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity reduced biodiversity loss by an average of 29% per country between 1996 and 2008 (45). Restoring 30% of converted land in priority areas could mitigate as much as 75% of extinction debt and sequester as many as 524 gigatons of CO2, helping combat much of the recent damage to the natural world. Land restoration is extremely cost-effective when targeting high-priority areas that have rich biodiversity and that are also experiencing high rates of agricultural expansion and biodiversity loss (46).

Risk

Dimensions of Impact: RISK

Key questions in this dimension include:

What impact risks do investments aligned with this Strategic Goal run? How can investments mitigate them?

The following are several impact risk factors for investments in nature-based solutions.

  • External Risk: Investments face climate risks, such as extreme weather events like droughts, heat waves, and flooding, which are most effectively mitigated through climate-scenario analysis at the project level. Environmental risks involve insufficient coverage of the main drivers of ecosystem degradation. Mitigation starts with a deep understanding of the drivers of biodiversity loss that might affect a certain project or investment and a plan to reduce or minimize these drivers. Overall, investors can apply an Environmental and Social Safeguards (or Standards), or ESS approach to substantially reduce environmental and social risks. Development institutions, international treaties, and agencies use ESS, a set of policies, standards, and operational procedures, to first identify and then to avoid, mitigate, and minimize adverse environmental and social impacts. The World Bank’s ESS Section 1 covers the assessment and management of environmental and social risks (54). The IFC’s Performance Standard 6 on Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources (2012) may also be helpful for private-sector investments in nature-based solutions.
  • Evidence Risk: Notwithstanding progress made in measuring and monitoring climate risks and benefits, collecting biodiversity data within nature-based solutions is complex and challenging. For example, there is no single, high-level policy goal for biodiversity conservation akin to the 1.5°C warming ceiling established by the Paris Agreement. Conserving biodiversity is a much more complex financial problem than climate change, in part because it greatly depends on local factors, despite having global implications. Data are limited on the complex relationship between companies and biodiversity as mediated through operations and supply chains. Furthermore, there is no clear taxonomy of biodiversity investments and definitions, nor are there widely accepted risk assessment and reporting frameworks (55). As a relatively new concept, the long-term benefits, performance, and functionalities of nature-based solutions have not yet been extensively proven. Besides deterring policymakers, city planners, engineers, and the general public from implementing green solutions (in favor of gray infrastructure, however short-term), nature-based solutions lack common design standards, including when physical conditions are or are not suitable for their implementation. Investors can minimize this considerable evidence risk by implementing formalized and standardized monitoring, reporting, and evidence-collection procedures. At the same time, investors should (albeit with caution) embrace innovative measurement approaches. Interesting work related to the standardization of data and measurement approaches is available from the European Business & Biodiversity Platform’s workstream on methods (i.e., the Biodiversity Measurement Navigation Wheel); the Platform for Biodiversity Accounting Financials (PBAF), which is working towards a standard for assessing biodiversity impact and dependency; and the Align project. Aligning accounting approaches for nature), which is developing a standardized approach to biodiversity measurement and closely cooperates with PBAF.
  • Stakeholder Participation Risk: While traditional gray infrastructure is typically developed around a well-defined key need, nature-based solutions should be designed to deliver multiple benefits, requiring a systemic view of the functioning and interdependence of natural systems and processes to maximize co-benefits and avoid negative consequences. As such, nature-based solutions involve multiple stakeholders and require inter-disciplinary expertise, including collaboration among professionals from disparate disciplines such as landscape architects, water planners, and engineers who may have different ways of working and distinct goals (46,47). Investors can and should play a facilitating and convening role to mitigate this cross-disciplinary friction, including through deliberate and comprehensive knowledge transfer. Moreover, ecosystem-related projects risk lack of community support or participation if local stakeholders are not brought into the design and implementation of the project at an early stage. By engaging these stakeholders, especially Indigenous peoples and others who have historical relationships with the land, investors can mitigate this risk. Finally, in terms of engagement with governments, investors should ensure that the invested region has strong regulation and enforcement of environmental protection laws. Investors can also advocate for policy and regulation that supports and encourages nature-based solutions.
  • Unexpected Impact Risk: Local communities and Indigenous peoples are often both most vulnerable to the consequences of biodiversity loss (including threats to human rights) and also critical potential partners in protecting biodiversity and implementing nature-based solutions, as biodiversity hotspots often overlap with local communities’ livelihoods. Due consideration of the rights, cultural practices, and ideas of local communities and Indigenous Peoples should be part of any biodiversity-related effort. Investors should align their investment criteria with UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Illustrative Investment

Wetlands International and Rabobank developed a pilot Green Impact Bond to support the rewetting of a Dutch peatland area. Peatland landscapes, which support biodiverse wetland habitats and provide many ecosystem services, face pressure from agricultural drainage practices that destabilize the soil and cause it to subside about 1 centimeter annually, with damaging consequences for both ecosystems and urban infrastructure. As natural carbon sinks, the drainage of Dutch peatlands releases equivalent carbon dioxide emissions to two million cars, so their restoration mitigates climate change. The work is conceptually supported by research conducted by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the IUCN on how financial instruments such as Green Impact Bonds can implement Integrated Landscape Management.

Prudential Financial provided USD 1.7 million for the District Stormwater LLC partnership between NatureVest and Encourage Capital in Washington, DC, enabling the development of green infrastructure projects to support the country’s Stormwater Retention Credit (SRC) trading market by providing a source of credits and improving the market’s operations. Developers can meet mandated runoff requirements by investing in onsite measures, such as green roofs. If these are too challenging or costly, up to half the requirements can be met by investing in credits derived from offsite green infrastructure in areas with lower property values and more challenging economic situations and poverty levels. In this way, this green infrastructure project offers income for landowners, creates jobs, and avoids flood-related costs.

As part of a EUR 150 million finance contract, the European Investment Bank provided EUR 4.5 million to Société Publique de Gestion de l’Eau (SPGE), the coordinator and financier of the Walloon water sector. Through this investment, SPGE will carry invest in river basin biodiversity by modernizing water treatment infrastructure and wastewater collection systems. These efforts exceed SPGE’s legal obligations, so the program is guaranteed by the Natural Capital Financing Facility, which the European Investment Bank and the European Commission created to fund environment and climate action initiatives. Through nature-based solutions for wastewater treatment, this work aims to improve water quality and restore two endangered Natura 2000 species, the freshwater pearl mussel and the thick-shelled river mussel.

Draw on Evidence

This mapped evidence shows what outcomes and impacts this strategy can have, based on academic and field research.

NESTA: 4
Protective functions and ecosystem services of global forests in the past quarter-century 

Miura, Satoru, Michael Amacher, Thomas Hofer, Jesús San-Miguel-Ayanz, and Ernawati Richard Thackway. 2015. “Protective functions and ecosystem services of global forests in the past quarter-century.” Forest Ecology and Management 35-46. doi:”$”:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2015.03.039. 

NESTA: 4
Vertebrate biodiversity on indigenous-managed lands in Australia, Brazil, and Canada equals that in protected areas

Richard Schuster, Ryan R. Germain, Joseph R. Bennett, Nicholas J. Reo, Peter Arcese. 2018. “Vertebrate biodiversity on indigenous-managed lands in Australia, Brazil, and Canada equals that in protected areas.” Environmental Science & Policy 1-6.

NESTA: 4
Agroforestry is paying off – Economic evaluation of ecosystem services in European landscapes with and without agroforestry systems

Sonja Kay, Anil Graves, João H.N. Palma, Gerardo Moreno, José V. Roces-Díaz, Stéphanie Aviron, Dimitrios Chouvardas, Josep Crous-Duran, Nuria Ferreiro-Domínguez, Silvestre García de Jalón, Vlad Măcicăşan, María Rosa Mosquera-Losada, Anastasia Pantera, Jose Javier Santiago-Freijanes, Erich Szerencsits, Mario Torralba, Paul J. Burgess, Felix Herzog. Agroforestry is paying off – Economic evaluation of ecosystem services in European landscapes with and without agroforestry systems, Ecosystem Services, Volume 36, 2019. 100896 ISSN 2212-0416,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2019.100896.

NESTA: 3
Biodiversity and ecosystem services in urban green infrastructure planning: A case study from the metropolitan area of Rome (Italy)

Giulia Capotorti, Marta María Alós Ortí, Riccardo Copiz, Lina Fusaro, Barbara Mollo, Elisabetta Salvatori, Laura Zavattero. 2019. “Biodiversity and ecosystem services in urban green infrastructure planning: A case study from the metropolitan area of Rome (Italy).” Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 87-96. doi:”$”:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2017.12.014.

NESTA: 3
The importance of protected areas and Indigenous lands in securing ecosystem services and biodiversity in the Cerrado

Fernando M. Resende, Jérôme Cimon-Morin, Monique Poulin, Leila Meyer, Daiany C. Joner, Rafael Loyola. 2021. “The importance of protected areas and Indigenous lands in securing ecosystem services and biodiversity in the Cerra.” Ecosystem Services 101282.

NESTA: 3
Potential Biodiversity Benefits from International Programs to Reduce Carbon Emissions from Deforestation 

Siikamäki, Juha, and Stephen C. Newbold. “Potential Biodiversity Benefits from International Programs to Reduce Carbon Emissions from Deforestation.” AMBIO 41, no. 1 (February 1, 2012): 78–89. 

NESTA: 3
Effects of tree cover on parking lot microclimate and vehicle emissions 

Scott, K., J. Simpson, and E. McPherson. 1998. “Effects of tree cover on parking lot microclimate and vehicle emissions.” J Arboriculture.

NESTA: 3
Building the investment case for business-driven landscape restoration

De Groot, R. & Moolenaar, S. 2019 Building the investment case for business-driven landscape restoration.

NESTA: 3
Valuing the Ecosystem Service Benefits from Regenerative Agriculture Practices

Farmland LP. 2017. Valuing the Ecosystem Service Benefits
from Regenerative Agriculture Practices.

NESTA: 3
A general framework for the quantification and valuation of ecosystem services of tree-based intercropping systems

Alam, M., Olivier, A., Paquette, A. et al. A general framework for the quantification and valuation of ecosystem services of tree-based intercropping systems. Agroforest Syst 88, 679–691 (2014).

NESTA: 2
Ecosystem services and U.S. stormwater planning: An approach for improving urban stormwater decisions

BenDor, Todd K., Vivek Shandas, Brian Miles, Kenneth Belt, and Lydia Olander. 2018. “Ecosystem services and U.S. stormwater planning: An approach for improving urban stormwater decisions.” Environmental Science & Policy 92-103. doi:”$”:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2018.06.006.

NESTA: 2
Renaturing cities using a regionally-focused biodiversity-led multifunctional benefits approach to urban green infrastructure

Stuart Connop, Paula Vandergert, Bernd Eisenberg, Marcus J. Collier, Caroline Nash, Jack Clough, Darryl Newport. 2016. “Renaturing cities using a regionally-focused biodiversity-led multifunctional benefits approach to urban green infrastructure.” Environmental Science & Policy 99-111. doi:”$”:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2016.01.013.

NESTA: 2
Re-orienting nature-based solutions with more-than-human thinking

Maller, Cecily. 2021. “Re-orienting nature-based solutions with more-than-human thinking.” Cities 103155. doi:”$”:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2021.103155.

NESTA: 2
Working with Indigenous, local and scientific knowledge in assessments of nature and nature’s linkages with people

Rosemary Hill, Çiğdem Adem, Wilfred V Alangui, Zsolt Molnár, Yildiz Aumeeruddy-Thomas, Peter Bridgewater, Maria Tengö, Randy Thaman, Constant Y Adou Yao, Fikret Berkes, Joji Carino, Manuela Carneiro da Cunha, Mariteuw C Diaw, Sandra Díaz, Viviana E Figuer. 2020. “Working with Indigenous, local and scientific knowledge in assessments of nature and nature’s linkages with people.” Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 8-20. doi:”$”:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2019.12.006.

NESTA: 2
A framework for assessing and implementing the co-benefits of nature-based solutions in urban areas

M.Raymond, Christopher, Niki Frantzeskaki, Nadja Kabisch, Pam Berry, Margaretha Breil, Mihai Razvan Nita, Davide Geneletti, and Carlo Calfapietra. 2017. “A framework for assessing and implementing the co-benefits of nature-based solutions in urban areas.” Environmental Science & Policy 15-24.

NESTA: 2
Nature-based solutions for urban biodiversity governance

Xie, Linjun, and Harriet Bulkeley. 2020. “Nature-based solutions for urban biodiversity governance.” Environmental Science & Policy 77-87.

NESTA: 2
Seven lessons for planning nature-based solutions in cities

Frantzeskaki, Niki. 2019. “Seven lessons for planning nature-based solutions in cities.” Environmental Science & Policy 101-111.

NESTA: 2
Stakeholders’ views on natural flood management: Implications for the nature-based solutions paradigm shift?

Rosalind H. Bark, Julia Martin-Ortega, Kerry A. Waylen. 2021. “Stakeholders’ views on natural flood management: Implications for the nature-based solutions paradigm shift?” Environmental Science & Policy 91-98. doi:”$”:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2020.10.018

NESTA: 2
A spatial overview of the global importance of Indigenous lands for conservation 

Garnett, S.T., Burgess, N.D., Fa, J.E. et al. A spatial overview of the global importance of Indigenous lands for conservation. Nat Sustain 1, 369–374 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-018-0100-6 

NESTA: 2
Science Must Embrace Traditional and Indigenous Knowledge to Solve Our Biodiversity Crisis

Edwin Ogar, Gretta Pecl, Tero Mustonen. 2020. “Science Must Embrace Traditional and Indigenous Knowledge to Solve Our Biodiversity Crisis.” One Earth 162-165. doi:”$”:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2020.07.006.

NESTA: 2
Knowledge and actions: Cultural models of nature and resource management in Mesoamerica. 

Atran, S. and D. Medin 1997. “Knowledge and Action: Cultural Models of Nature and Resource Manage- ment in Mesoamerica.” In Environment, Ethics and Behavior, ed. by M. Bazerman, D. Messick, A. Tin- brunsel and K. Wayde-Benzoni. Pp. 171-208. San Francisco: New Lexington Press 

NESTA: 2
Conservation and restoration of mangroves: Global status, perspectives, and prognosis 

Romañach, Stephanie S., Donald L. DeAngelis, Hock Lye Koh, Yuhong Li, Su Yean Teh, Raja Sulaiman Raja Barizan, and Lu Zhai. “Conservation and Restoration of Mangroves: Global Status, Perspectives, and Prognosis.” Ocean & Coastal Management 154 (March 15, 2018): 72–82. 

NESTA: 2
Supporting resurgent Indigenous-led governance: A nascent mechanism for just and effective conservation

Kyle A. Artelle, Melanie Zurba, Jonaki Bhattacharyya, Diana E. Chan, Kelly Brown, Jess Housty, Faisal Moola. 2019. “Supporting resurgent Indigenous-led governance: A nascent mechanism for just and effective conservation.” Biological Conservation 108284. doi:”$”:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108284.

NESTA: 2
Agroforestry for Ecosystem Services and Environmental Benefits: An Overview 

Jose, Shibu. “Agroforestry for Ecosystem Services and Environmental Benefits: An Overview.” Agroforestry Systems 76, no. 1 (May 1, 2009): 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-009-9229-7

NESTA: 2
REDD+ and Biodiversity Conservation: A Review of the Biodiversity Goals, Monitoring Methods, and Impacts of 80 REDD+ Projects 

Panfil, Steven N., and Celia A. Harvey. “REDD+ and Biodiversity Conservation: A Review of the Biodiversity Goals, Monitoring Methods, and Impacts of 80 REDD+ Projects.” Conservation Letters 9, no. 2 (2016): 143–50. 

NESTA: 2
Nature-based solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation in urban areas: Perspectives on indicators, knowledge gaps, barriers, and opportunities for action 

Kabisch, Nadja & Frantzeskaki, Niki & Pauleit, Stephan & Naumann, Sandra & Davis, Mckenna & Artmann, Martina & Haase, Dagmar & Knapp, Sonja & Korn, Horst & Stadler, Jutta & Zaunberger, Karin & Bonn, Aletta. (2016). Nature-based solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation in urban areas: Perspectives on indicators, knowledge gaps, barriers, and opportunities for action. ECOLOGY AND SOCIETY. 21. 39. 10.5751/ES-08373-210239. 

NESTA: 2
The superior effect of nature based solutions in land management for enhancing ecosystem services 

Keesstra S, Nunes J, Novara A, Finger D, Avelar D, Kalantari Z, Cerdà A. The superior effect of nature based solutions in land management for enhancing ecosystem services. Sci Total Environ. 2018 Jan 1;610-611:997-1009. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.08.077. Epub 2017 Aug 20. PMID: 28838037. 

NESTA: 2
Nature-based solutions for urban development and tourism 

Rice, Louis. 2019. “Nature-based solutions for urban development and tourism.” International Journal of Tourism Cities. doi:10.1108/IJTC-05-2019-0069. 

NESTA: 2
Agricultural diversification promotes multiple ecosystem services without compromising yield

Tamburini, Giovanni, Riccardo Bommarco, Thomas Cherico Wanger, Claire Kremen, Marcel GA van der Heijden, Matt Liebman, and Sara Hallin. “Agricultural diversification promotes multiple ecosystem services without compromising yield.” Science advances 6, no. 45 (2020): eaba1715.

Each resource is assigned a rating of rigor according to the NESTA Standards of Evidence.

Define Metrics

Core Metrics

This starter set of core metrics — chosen from the IRIS catalog with the input of impact investors who work in this area — indicate performance toward objectives within this strategy. They can help with setting targets, tracking performance, and managing toward success.

Interested in providing feedback on these IRIS metrics in the forthcoming public comment period? Request an invitation here and include “Biodiversity theme” in the box.

Additional Metrics

While the above core metrics provide a starter set of measurements that can show outcomes of a portfolio targeted toward this goal, the additional metrics below — or others from the IRIS catalog — can provide more nuance and depth to understanding your impact.