Cooperating with people and nature for afforestation of rural and suburban landscapes


The NBS-cases in Aarhus Municipality included in Invest4Nature are primarily implemented in rural and suburban areas. The specific location has an impact on how the NBS is implemented. If located close to residential areas, higher focus is placed on recreational values. 

The challenge 

The impact of human activity, particularly agriculture, towns, and settlements, has significantly affected the Danish landscape, resulting in a decline in both spatial and qualitative biodiversity. This has put the drinking water, which entirely relies on groundwater, at risk. Though Aarhus Municipality is currently self-sufficient in drinking water, efforts are being made to secure this limited natural resource and prevent pollution, such as through nature-based solutions like afforestation. A significant challenge lies in the City of Aarhus’s coastal location at the outlet of Aarhus River, requiring measures to address the rising sea level and cloud bursts, partially in rural areas as a defense line against the water’s path to the city and coast. Additionally, the municipality aims to achieve CO2-neutrality by 2030, necessitating significant efforts on multiple fronts.

 The nature-based solution 

Afforestation is one type of NBS implemented to meet some of the challenges we face in Aarhus Municipality. By creating new forests, we deliver better conditions for enhanced biodiversity, secure drinking water in vulnerable areas, retain rainwater at some locations, enhance recreational value and create a new carbon sink.

To make the best possible use of the funds allocated to afforestation, we cooperate with organizations, private enterprises, The Danish Ministry of Environment, citizens and private landowners.  

Role of living lab in Invest4Nature 

Aarhus Municipality contributes data from already implemented NBS projects and provides the link and cooperation to local stakeholders. We wish to further develop our business model on afforestation projects based on cooperation with local organizations and private companies in Aarhus. The vision is to use NBS solutions to create a greener landscape with more blue (water) to double the area with nature and forest, increase water retention, increase biodiversity in streams, nature areas and cities and to secure drinking water for the next generations. 

Lone Telling 

Aarhus Kommune – Aarhus Municipality