Climate change constitutes one of the biggest challenges the world is facing today. It is a complex phenomenon, involving and affecting political, social, ecological and economic spheres alike: Climate change could significantly disrupt our livelihoods and security on all these levels, eventually critically endangering life on this planet.
Therefore, limiting further temperature rise and thus extreme weather events and phenomena such as ocean acidification has to be a top priority on any agenda in this world. As entirely halting or reversing climate change will be impossible, learning how to adapt to it is just as important.
In the face of a changing climate, building resilience against and reducing vulnerability to the phenomenon is a necessity that has to be dealt with now. Working with climate change adaptation all around the globe is thus of outstanding importance.
Climate change adaptation means taking practical action to manage risks from climate impacts, protect communities and strengthen the resilience of economies. In order to reduce or fully avert the negative impacts climate change can have, it is central to anticipate these adverse effects in advance and carefully choose appropriate measures to act on them.
Ecosystems are dynamic complexes of plants, animals, microorganisms and the nonliving environment. Humans are an integral part of such ecosystems. Every ecosystem supports societies and humans in multiply ways. In economic terms, this support is often described as ecosystem services. To sustain, conserve and restore ecosystems and their services can therefore significantly help to reduce the vulnerability of people to climate change.
Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) implies the strengthening of natural ecosystems to buffer and help humans live with the negative impacts of climate change. EbA can therefore be seen as a form of ‘human adaptation through nature’, as part of which ecosystems are managed, restored and conserved to help people to adapt to climate change.
The ability of people to adapt to climate change is inextricably linked to the health of the ecosystems they depend on for their livelihoods and well-being. If adaptation policies and programs are to be effective, they must integrate efforts to sustain and restore ecosystem functions under changing climatic conditions.