Summer in Swiss alps
Image by , UnsplashSeealpsee, Schwende District, Switzerland
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Unveiling the Power of Nature: Transformative Adaptation in the Alps

This study was conducted by Titouan Dubo, Ignacio Palomo, Aude Zingraff-Hamed, Enora Bruley, Guillaume Collain and Sandra Lavorel. The authors examined the decision-making contexts that support the implementation of nature-based solutions (NbS) in the Alps.

Key findings

  • Transformative adaptation is essential to address the unprecedented biodiversity and climate crises and the resulting loss of Nature's Contribution to People (NCP).
  • NbS can accelerate this transformation of social-ecological systems.
  • Understanding the drivers of the decision-making context that supports NbS implementation is critical to addressing potential bottlenecks and barriers to such transformative adaptation.

Types of NbS

The authors identified three types of NbS, characterized by specific sets of levers and barriers:

  • Local transformative NbS: These are self-sustaining initiatives motivated by relational values with nature. They are supported by informal governance and share experiential knowledge to support the adaptive capacity of nature.
  • Green Deal NbS: These apply a gradual change in practices and are supported by funding opportunities or regulations to experiment with new approaches that promote instrumental values of nature.
  • Multi-scale co-production NbS: These benefit larger areas and communities. Their social acceptance is based on extensive participatory processes involving local practitioners and multiple values of nature.


The authors suggest that future policy should

  • Encourage NbS implementation by local communities facing economic constraints in adopting new NbS-related practices.
  • Support transdisciplinary programs to create an inclusive network around NbS practices.
  • Adapt incentives to enable transformative adaptation through NbS.

A macro-regional strategy may have the potential to address these challenges.


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