Indicators of NBS performance and impact

Laura Wendling, Adina Dumitru, Maria Dubovik, Arto Laikari (Contributor), Malin zu Castell-Rudenhausen (Contributor), Zarrin Fatima (Contributor)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter or book articleProfessional


This chapter introduces 12 categories of societal challenges that NBS can address (Section 4.1). These are conceptually mapped against the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For each of the 12 societal challenge areas, Section 4.2 outlines and lists indicators to evaluate the performance and impact of NBS. It reviews the different types of NBS, gives examples of each NBS type, and lists the indicators related to the particular societal challenge in a series of tables. Associated methodologies are compiled in the related Appendix of Methods. To help navigate, the indicators are classified as structural, process-based or outcome-oriented. Structural indicators are particularly useful during the NBS planning process and can help identify where resources may be lacking or highlight policy and/or procedural gaps that require attention. Process-based indicators can provide information about the value or impacts of the collaborative processes that underpin NBS (co-creation, co-implementation and comanagement). The outcome-oriented indicators are useful to understand NBS performance by establishing an understanding of baseline (pre-NBS) conditions and following changes to these conditions after NBS implementation. We distinguish between recommended and additional indicators. Recommended indicators are considered the most important ones to monitor NBS impact. Additional indicators can provide highly valuable information, depending on local context and particular data needs. The chapter concludes with a reflection on the importance of critical thinking to select the right indicators for a holistic assessment of NBS and the development of emerging indicators (Section 4.3).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvaluating the impact of nature-based solutions
Subtitle of host publicationA handbook for practitioners
EditorsAdina Dumitru, Laura Wendling
PublisherEuropean Commission EC
ISBN (Electronic)978-92-76-22821-9
ISBN (Print)978-92-76-22961-2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
MoE publication typeD2 Article in professional manuals or guides or professional information systems or text book material


  • Nature-based solutions


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