Toolbox Overview

This Toolbox aims to support decision-making and management by bringing together the evidence base for Nature-Based Solution in marine and coastal ecosystems developed through the MaCoBioS project. 

It is becoming increasingly evident that the integrity and health of marine and coastal ecosystems is crucial for people’s wellbeing. We benefit from the wide variety of goods and services these ecosystems provide. For instance, marine and coastal ecosystems can act as nurseries for fish species we harvest, attenuate the intensity of storms thereby reducing their devastating impacts on coastal infrastructure and people, and act as pollution buffers and purify water. Marine and coastal ecosystems also provide people with raw materials and food, contribute to carbon sequestration and storage, and offer benefits to tourism, recreation, education and research. But despite their importance, marine and coastal ecosystems are degrading or disappearing altogether in many places around the world, mostly as a result of direct or indirect human pressures. MaCoBioS worked in six marine and coastal ecosystems (mangroves, coral reefs, kelp forests, maërl beds, seagrass meadows, saltmarshes) across three ecoregions (Northern Europe, Mediterranean and Caribbean) to better understand their ecological condition and how this affects the ecosystem services they provide. If you’d like to learn more about the ecosystems we studied please explore the following StoryMaps:     

Nature-based Solutions aim to provide societal and ecological benefits by recognising the vital role of nature to help address societal challenges, including biodiversity loss and climate change. The concept provides a framework for protection, restoration, and more holistic management of marine and coastal ecosystems to tackle human activities that degrade them. You can learn more about them through our article on “Embracing Nature-based Solutions to promote resilient marine and coastal ecosystems”. If you are at the beginning of considering implementing a Nature-based Solution, we have developed these tools to support your work:

Decision Tree

Risk Assessment Framework

Suitability Mapping

If you would like to learn more about the potential effects your intervention might have, and how to monitor our focal ecosystems and evaluate the effects of your intervention, please consult the following pages:

Ecological effects

Social effects

When implementing a Nature-based Solution it is important to remember that the main focus should be on recognising and managing human activities that cause ecological degradation, not on managing the ecosystems themselves.  It is of utmost importance to see people as a critical part of the natural world. The drivers of ecological degradation are profound, complex, and systemic. They are deeply connected with how we produce and consume, and how we interact with the environment. Nature-based Solutions cannot address all these drivers, but they have the potential to change the rhetoric on how we engage with nature, valuing its great contribution to our daily lives and the opportunities that arise from a more respectful interaction with the natural environment. During our research, we found that people interested in our coasts and oceans, whether as a private citizen or as a practitioner or policy-maker working in marine and coastal management, strongly value nature and support nature-based approaches in the management of these ecosystems. However, there are key barriers to their uptake, for instance the lack of institutional coordination, insufficient financing or narrow understanding of the social-ecological systems in which marine and coastal ecosystems are embedded. Involving people at all stages of planning, implementing, and managing Nature-based Solutions is critical to make sure they are effective at delivering their objectives. We have provided some information on how to involve people in decision making about management of marine and coastal ecosystems and how to integrate NBS into policies and practices in the following page: 

Society and Policy

All our research and findings, and accompanying spatial data, are freely available on the following pages:

Project Outputs


We hope you find this collection of material interesting and useful.