Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA)

Ecosystems provide a wealth of benefits for the humans. These include, for example maintaining soil fertility, ensuring a supply of clean water and protection against flooding or erosion. These ‘ecosystem services’ can also reduce the impacts of climate change.

Within funding area III, ‘Preserving and restoring natural carbon sinks’, landscape-based approaches supplement the EbA strategy.

Learn more about the approach and watch the video "What is ecosystem-based adaptation?

Focus on the impacts for humans 

The concept of ecosystem-based adaptation encompasses the use of biodiversity, natural resources and their ecosystem services in order to increase the adaptability of humans to the impacts of climate change. Oriented on humans, EbA is an approach that treats natural resources as supplementing or substituting for other kinds of adaptation measures.

This approach looks explicitly at current and future changes to the climate, and highlights their impacts on people and ecosystems. In this way, EbA differs from the conventional approaches used in the management of natural resources and biodiversity.

Cost-effective adaptation 

EbA measures are effective in many different ways. Beyond their immediate benefits for adaptation, they also offer many other advantages in terms of income, security of supply and well-being for the people affected by the consequences of climate change. Often, EbA also enables comparatively cost-effective adaptation options, as the costs for ecosystem restoration are frequently lower than technical solutions that aim to increase adaptability by the same magnitude.

In the field, EbA is typically part of a wider-ranging adaptation strategy and should be integrated proactively into existing planning processes such as in land use. An example is improved management, carried out with the protection or rehabilitation of mangrove forests and coral reefs. If these ecosystems are stable, they protect coastal areas from storm damage and the consequences of rising sea levels.

Accounting for the effects of EbA measures 

Ecosystem-based measures may call for far-reaching decisions, for example in cases where protected habitats limit the usage of resources. Accordingly, risk assessments, scenario planning and the management of adaptation measures must therefore form part of decision-making, in order to identify and properly account for impacts.

IKI funds projects that pilot specific EbA approaches in the field, and then process and disseminate the findings obtained. The BMU uses the insights gained in these projects as input for international negotiation processes. Practical experience of the utility of EbA measures and their cost/benefit ratio compared with other adaptation measures is also applied to further develop the EbA model.

Back to the overview page adapting to the impacts of climate change.