Lunchtime Chats with Megan Best and Tamara Hochstrasser: Nature Based Solutions in Ireland

We were joined by Megan Best and Dr Tamara Hochstrasser to discuss Nature Based Solutions and some of the challenges for its implementation in Ireland.

In this project, they investigated how NbS are conceptualised in Ireland, and what problems practitioners are anticipating or encountering when implementing NbS. They conducted 17 interviews with representatives from a variety of Irish institutions (Teagasc, EPA, UCD, OPW, local and national government, An Taisce), semi-state bodies (Coillte, Bord Na Mona), projects (Kerry Life, Woodlands of Ireland), farmers and landowners. Their results show that the attitude of Irish stakeholders towards NbS is largely positive. Commonly referenced examples of NbS were: Kerry LIFE, the Inishowen Rivers Trust, and the Dodder improvement works. A number of significant problems for NbS implementation in Ireland were discovered: insurance sector mistrust of NbS; trade-offs between restoring ecosystems and using land for renewable energy projects; and flaws in agri-environmental schemes and the overarching food system. Furthermore, it was remarkable that tree planting as a potential NbS received very little emphasis. It appears that the potential of NbS to halt biodiversity loss is not systematically incorporated in policy and practice. Multi-stakeholder dialogue across sectors is urgently needed to not only restore degraded ecosystems, but also to renew our relationship with the land and nature that surrounds us.

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