Take part in MaCoBioS – connecting people with Nature-Based Solutions

Take part in MaCoBioS – connecting people with Nature-Based Solutions

People, science and marine and coastal ecosystems

People are a critical part of the natural world. Wherever we look, people have shaped ecosystems and rely on the natural world to provide them with resources or protect them. But marine and coastal ecosystems, such as coral reefs, mangroves, salt marshes and kelp forests, are increasingly under pressure from human actions and climate change and its associated effects. Reducing these pressures and improving the health of these ecosystems requires science to inform management. Science, in turn, must be informed by the diverse uses and impacts of people on nature and their differing societal and cultural values to make sure solutions are feasible and respond to the needs of people and nature.

The importance of marine and coastal ecosystems the wellbeing, prosperity and survival of humans and nature is now well-recognised. They provide us with food and other materials. We use them for recreational activities such as snorkelling and diving. They are of spiritual and cultural importance for local communities. They help us with wastewater treatment, erosion prevention, flood control, carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation, amongst a range of other benefits. Ensuring better use and protection of such valuable ecosystems is therefore critical.

MaCoBioS is working across six marine and coastal ecosystems in a range of oceanic/cold, temperate and tropical environments
Benefits provided by nature are known as ‘ecosystem services’ and are broadly grouped into three types – provisioning, regulation and maintenance, and cultural. Food and raw materials are examples of provisioning services. Regulation and maintenance services include carbon sequestration and storage and supporting nursery habitats. Benefits to mental and physical health and recreation are examples of cultural services.

Nature-Based Solutions and MaCoBioS

Increasingly, people are turning to Nature-Based Solutions – actions that harness the power of nature to provide environmental, social and economic benefits – to help improve the health of marine and coastal ecosystems and address human impacts for the benefit of society. The development of Nature-Based Solutions for addressing societal challenges such as climate change, disaster risk reduction and food security presents opportunities for humans and nature, but it can also carry risks of failing to live up to promises and negatively impacting local communities when poorly designed or implemented.

MaCoBioS aims to address these risks by improving our understanding of Nature-Based Solutions, working with stakeholders to co-design theory and tools and help decision-makers and practitioners communicate and implement effective and considered NBS. Achieving this means incorporating societal values and expectations and taking into consideration local experiences and knowledge in science-informed solutions and policy guidance. Engaging with stakeholders and embedding them into MaCoBioS is therefore essential to ensure effective policy advice.

A stakeholder is any group, organisation or individual who has an interest in, can affect, or is affected by something. In the scope of MaCoBioS, this means stakeholders are those who:

  • make use of marine and coastal ecosystems (e.g., fishers, divers, etc.);
  • benefit from the services marine and coastal ecosystems provide (e.g., local communities benefiting from coastal protection);
  • have a direct role in the management of marine and coastal ecosystems or stressors that affect them (e.g., protected area managers, coastal managers); and/or
  • can influence the management of marine and coastal ecosystems through policies, legislation, funding, research, environmental education, etc. (e.g., policy-makers, universities, NGO).

We want to involve people representing these diverse stakeholder groups in MaCoBioS so that we can share information, learn from them, and identify and respond to their needs. In doing so, we aim to improve the robustness of our analyses and findings and ensure the relevance, social acceptability and legitimacy of our results and policy advice.

How you can get involved as a stakeholder

People can get involved in MaCoBioS through a variety of ways from learning about marine and coastal ecosystems, climate change and Nature-Based Solutions through to participating in our events. To facilitate this, we use a variety of engagement channels to communicate with and involve stakeholders meaningfully. Our website has a ‘News and Views’ section dedicated to all stakeholders where we share content that might be of interest and advertise engagement opportunities like surveys and events happening. We also carry out local engagement activities, such as interviews, focus groups, and workshops to facilitate in-depth knowledge exchange between MaCoBioS and key stakeholder groups, feeding into theory and tool development.

MaCoBioS approach to stakeholder engagement

You can read more about MaCoBioS by exploring our website and YouTube Channel. You can also get in touch with us by emailing info@macobios.eu, following us on Twitter and Instagram @MaCoBioS, or by registering with us for project updates and invitations to participate in our project direct to your inbox.

MaCoBioS is working across Northern Europe, the Western Mediterranean Sea and the Caribbean and we are particularly interested in hearing from and involving people from these regions, but we welcome input from everyone no matter who you are, or where you are from, live or work. We’d love to hear from you!

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