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Challenges and considerations of applying nature-based solutions in low- and middle-income countries in Southeast and East Asia

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posted on 2022-03-30, 02:59 authored by Alex M Lechner, Rachel L Gomes, Lucelia Rodrigues, Matthew J Ashfold, Sivathass Bannir Selvam, Ee Phin Wong, Christopher M Raymond, Alexandra Zieritz, Kong Wah Sing, Peter Moug, Lawal Billa, Saut Sagala, Ali Cheshmehzangi, Karen Lourdes, Badrul Azhar, Ruzana Sanusi, Christopher D Ives, Yu-Ting Tang, David T Tan, Faith Ka Shun Chan, Tapan Kumar Nath, Nur Aliya Binti Sabarudin, Sarah E Metcalfe, Natalie M Gulsrud, Mark Schuerch, Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, Mark MacklinMark Macklin, Chris Gibbins
Abstract Low- and middle-income countries in Southeast and East Asia face a range of challenges related to the rapid pace of urbanisation in the region, the scale of pollution, climate change, loss of ecosystem services and associated difficulties for ecological restoration. Possible pathways towards a more sustainable future lie in the applications of nature-based solutions (NBS). However, there is relatively little literature on the application of NBS in the region, particularly Southeast Asia. In this paper we address this gap by assessing the socio-ecological challenges to the application of NBS in the region – one of the most globally biodiverse. We first provide an overview and background on NBS and its underpinnings in biodiversity and ecosystem services. We then present a typology describing five unique challenges for the application of NBS in the region: (1) Characteristics of urbanisation; (2) Biophysical environmental and climatic context; (3) Environmental risks and challenges for restoration; (4) Human nature relationships and conflicts; and (5) Policy and governance context. Exploiting the opportunities through South-South and North-South collaboration to address the challenges of NBS in Southeast and East Asia needs to be a priority for government, planners and academics.


We would like to thank all the people who attended the three workshops held in University Nottingham China, UK and Malaysia campus in particular Odette Paramour, Paul Nathanial, Tengwen Long, Nick Hamm and Hazel Ramos. We would also like to thank collaborators who provided feedback including Diane Archer and Perrine Hamel. Finally, we would like to acknowledge that the work was supported by a grant provided by the University of Nottingham.


Publication Date



Blue-Green Systems






21p. (p. 331-351)


IWA Publishing



Rights Statement

© 2020 The Authors. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY 4.0), which permits copying, adaptation and redistribution, provided the original work is properly cited (