Ecosystem-based Adaptation: A Nature-Based Approach to Help People Adapt to Extreme Weather and Climate Change

By USAID Biodiversity Conservation Gateway

Guidance for Nature-Based Approaches to Climate Resilience

Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is a nature-based method for climate change adaptation that can reduce the vulnerability of people, natural systems and economies to climate stressors. EbA provides flexible and cost-effective approaches that enhance resilience through the improved management and conservation of ecosystems. EbA can be an effective adaptation strategy alone or as an element of broader national, regional and community adaptation plans.

USAID’s E3 Office of Forestry and Biodiversity and Office of Global Climate Change produced a series of evidence summaries and case studies to help decision-makers identify EbA approaches to address climate vulnerabilities and contribute to development results. The USAID Biodiversity Results and Integrated Development Gains Enhanced (BRIDGE) project implemented this work.

Series Synthesis

The Ecosystem-based Adaptation Series Synthesis provides an introduction to EbA and common EbA approaches. It also summarizes evidence related to EbA and food security, water security, coastal populations and extreme events; discusses cost-effectiveness; and outlines enabling conditions for and elements of a successful EbA approach.

Extreme Weather Events

The Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Extreme Events evidence summary details how nature-based approaches like EbA help communities adapt to extreme weather and climate-related events such as floods, storm surges, landslides, fires, droughts and heat waves.

The Improving Ecosystem Management to Strengthen Resilience to Extreme Weather in the Philippines case study details how improving the management of local ecosystems, particularly watersheds, strengthened climate resilience while providing immediate economic opportunities for local community members.


Food Security

The Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Food Security evidence summary outlines the contributions of EbA to food security through approaches like planting shade trees to improve soil fertility and support pollinators, managing watersheds to maintain water supplies and diversifying crops to improve resistance to pest outbreaks.

The Conserving Ecosystems to Support Climate Resilience in Bangladesh case study highlights how EbA approaches such as agroforestry, the restoration of wetlands and improvements in the management of wild fisheries can improve local food security.

Water Security

The Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Water Security evidence summary provides an overview of EbA approaches that support water security, including the conservation of healthy ecosystems that recharge aquifers and improve natural water storage, promotion of practices like agroforestry that increase the efficiency of water use and restoration of coastal wetlands that reduce saltwater intrusion.

In the Maintaining Water Security in Critical Water Catchments in Mongolia case study, EbA approaches included enhanced planning, management and conservation of grazing lands, water resources and forests. EbA approaches in the Maintaining Water Security in Peru Through Green Infrastructure case study focused on green infrastructure to help local communities adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change.

Coastal Resilience

The Ecosystem-based Adaptation and Coastal Populations evidence summary highlights how EbA approaches that improve the conservation, protection and management of coastal ecosystems can increase the resilience of coastal populations to climate stressors.

The Restoring Coral Reefs in the Face of Climate Change in the Seychelles case study highlights the successful application of EbA to reduce the vulnerability of coastal communities to sea level rise, increasing ocean temperatures and ocean acidification.

Smart Investments

The Economics of Ecosystem-based Adaptation evidence summary highlights how EbA approaches like sustainable forest management, reforestation, agroforestry, mangrove restoration and rangeland management can be more cost-effective, feasible and sustainable compared with other adaptation methods like the construction of hard infrastructure. EbA approaches also provide additional benefits for humans and the planet such as the provision of wild foods, carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation.

Ecosystem-based Adaptation Resources

Extreme Events

Food Security

Water Security

Coastal Resilience

Smart Investments

Additional Resources

The post was originally published on the USAID Biodiversity Conservation Gateway

Strategic Objective
Adaptation, Ecosystem-based Adaptation, Coastal, Natural Resource Management, Water and Sanitation, Weather

USAID Biodiversity Conservation Gateway

The Office of Forestry and Biodiversity designed the Gateway to communicate with conservation and development stakeholders about the Biodiversity Policy and the Agency's work supporting other U.S. Government initiatives and policies.

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