Many recent climate change adaptation initiatives have focused on the use of technologies and the design of climate resilient infrastructure. However, there is growing recognition of the role healthy ecosystems can play in helping people adapt to climate change. Healthy ecosystems provide drinking water, habitat, shelter, food, raw materials, genetic materials, a barrier against disasters, a source of natural resources, and many other ecosystem services on which people
depend for their livelihoods. As natural buffers, ecosystems are often cheaper to maintain, and often more effective, than physical engineering structures, such as dykes or concrete walls. Ecosystem-based Adaptation, therefore, offers a means of adaptation that is readily available to the rural poor; it can be readily integrated into community-based adaptation and addresses many of the concerns and priorities identified by the most vulnerable countries and people. In addition, healthy ecosystems, such as forests, wetlands, mangroves, and coral reefs, have a greater potential to adapt to climate change themselves, and recover more easily from extreme weather events.
This report presents 10 examples of Ecosystem-based Adaptation taking place in both developing and developed countries, at national, regional, and local scales, and in marine, terrestrial, and freshwater environments. The case studies demonstrate how Ecosystem-based Adaptation is being implemented at project and programmatic levels.
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A. Colls, N. Ash, and N. Ikkala (2009). Ecosystem-based Adaptation: a natural response to climate change. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. 16pp.