Ecosystem-based adaptation

Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is defined as the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change (CBD, 2009). 

Ecosystem services figure

This strategy can be implemented on different scales, from local (e.g. agricultural terraces) to regional and national schemes (e.g. biological corridors and payment for environmental services). Vulnerable communities are the focus of the EbA strategy, because they are often the ones who depend most on healthy ecosystems for their livelihoods. 

landscapes figure

The implementation of EbA measures increases people’s adaptive capacity – in other words, their ability to adjust to climate change, including climate variability and extremes, to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences (IPCC 2014). This is achieved through improved practices, income diversification, and sustainable management of ecosystems and their services. 

Impacts and Emmissions figure
Source: IPCC (2014)

It is recognized that EbA measures are cost-effective, but greater evidence of this is needed. With the provision of EbA options through microfinance, it is expected that many small-scale actions will have a significant large-scale impact.