Dutch climate buffers

Dutch Climate Buffers: nature-based solutions for climate change

By Paul Vertegaal, Natuurmonumenten

The Dutch Coalition Natural Climate Buffers can continue its work on nature-based solutions for climate change. Participation in the LIFE integrated project ‘Delta Nature’, initiated and coordinated by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, is facilitating them to finance a small staff to coordinate the work by its eight collaborative partners. Eurosite members Natuurmonumenten and the Dutch State Forest Service (Staatsbosbeheer) belong to this coalition. The Coalition will host the Eurosite Climate Buffers Study Tour in June 2017.

The Coalition already exists since 2008. Helped by a significant national grant up to 2015 its members were able to start and execute 20 field pilots, in which nature development and restoration could be designed in a way that important ‘blue ecosystem services’ could be delivered to society. These pilots, in extent varying from the ‘green’ façade of the office of Birdlife Netherlands to the 2.500 hectares natural water retention area ‘Onlanden’ near the capital city of the northern province Groningen, are nature-based answers for water-related climate adaptation.

In some projects wind and water driven ‘sand motors’ or shore lands are protecting marine or inland coastal areas against sea level rise and giant storms. In others, new or extended wetlands already proved to function as liable natural water retention measures for buffering inland flooding or water shortage situations. Last but not least in two pilots the water quality could be improved for multifunctional purposes. In all cases important wetland species and habitats benefitted significantly and nature related recreation and its economy could be facilitated. In many pilots the natural solutions proved to be cheaper for the water authorities than traditional civil engineering methods.

The Coalition already produced a database of more than 200 potential new natural climate buffers. In the coming years the partners will try to persuade public and private stakeholders to realise some of these, with the aim to make nature-based solutions ‘mainstream’.

Photo: Climate buffer “Onlanden” which – besides improving biodiversity – also provides flood prevention for the city of Groningen. © Natuurmonumenten / Geurt Besselink