Effectiveness of ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation: review of the evidence-base

Posted on: 11 Nov 2015 / Submitted by: Vickie

Ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation (EbA) integrate the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services into an overall strategy for helping people adapt to climate change. To date, however, insight into these approaches has often been based on anecdotal case studies of local peoples' use of ecosystems.

A systematic map of EbA-relevant peer-reviewed literature, and a sample of grey literature, was undertaken to

  1. give a methodical overview of the state of the evidence-base on EbA effectiveness
  2. identify key knowledge gaps.

A framework was developed with stakeholders to assess the evidence-base for EbA effectiveness. The literature reviewed showed that much can be learnt about EbA from articles which considered climatic variability and climate extremes. Measures of the effectiveness of EbA-relevant interventions recorded in the articles showed positive results, although discussion of thresholds, limits and timescales related to these interventions was limited.

Social, environmental and economic benefits of EbA interventions were in evidence in most articles, and though costs were discussed, this was limited in extent. It is concluded that the literature on EbA-relevant interventions addressing climatic variability, change, and linked extremes and natural hazards, contains some information that will support making the case for EbA, but the evidence-base has a number of gaps that should be addressed.

Nathalie Doswald 
Robert Munroe 
Dilys Roe 
Alessandra Giuliani 
Ivan Castelli 
Jen Stephens 
Iris Möller 
Tom Spencer 
Bhaskar Vira 
Hannah Reid 
Year of publication:
Climate and Development