What evidence exists on the links between natural climate solutions and climate change mitigation outcomes in subtropical and tropical terrestrial regions? A systematic map protocol


Natural climate solutions (NCS)—actions to conserve, restore, and modify natural and modified ecosystems to increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—are increasingly regarded as important pathways for climate change mitigation, while contributing to our global conservation efforts, overall planetary resilience, and sustainable development goals. Recently, projections posit that terrestrial-based NCS can potentially capture or avoid the emission of at least 11 Gt (gigatons) of carbon dioxide equivalent a year, or roughly encompassing one third of the emissions reductions needed to meet the Paris Climate Agreement goals by 2030. NCS interventions also purport to provide co-benefits such as improved productivity and livelihoods from sustainable natural resource management, protection of locally and culturally important natural areas, and downstream climate adaptation benefits. Attention on implementing NCS to address climate change across global and national agendas has grown—however, clear understanding of which types of NCS interventions have undergone substantial study versus those that require additional evidence is still lacking. This study aims to conduct a systematic map to collate and describe the current state, distribution, and methods used for evidence on the links between NCS interventions and climate change mitigation outcomes within tropical and sub-tropical terrestrial ecosystems. Results of this study can be used to inform program and policy design and highlight critical knowledge gaps where future evaluation, research, and syntheses are needed.


To develop this systematic map, we will search two bibliographic databases (including 11 indices) and 67 organization websites, backward citation chase from 39 existing evidence syntheses, and solicit information from key informants. All searches will be conducted in English and encompass subtropical and tropical terrestrial ecosystems (forests, grasslands, mangroves, agricultural areas). Search results will be screened at title and abstract, and full text levels, recording both the number of excluded articles and reasons for exclusion. Key meta-data from included articles will be coded and reported in a narrative review that will summarize trends in the evidence base, assess gaps in knowledge, and provide insights for policy, practice, and research. The data from this systematic map will be made open access.


Natural climate solutions, Climate change, Nature-based solutions, Mitigation, Land cover and land use change, Conservation, Restoration, Land management

In progress