Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) is an approach that is now widely used in climate change adaptation and development interventions especially in the least developed and developing countries. It focuses on strengthening the resilience of ecosystems, including ecosystem integrity and health, while also supporting communities and their livelihoods under a changing climate. In other words, EbA is said to have the ability to both utilize and support nature and ecosystem services, while also assisting communities in how they adapt to current and projected climate change impacts.
While EbA has certainly made progress as an adaptation approach, we still lack an understanding about how it can be effectively implemented, and the specific constraints and limits that it faces. We know that implementation of EbA approaches ideally requires a level of understanding about ecosystem structure, productivity and dynamics, and how these are affected by climate change and other direct anthropogenic stressors; information that is rarely available in developing countries. There are also other limits that relate to governance and institutions, social and cultural factors, biophysical limits, financial and economic, that all impact the extent that ecosystem-based approaches can be implemented as part of a more nature-friendly planning and policy regimes.
This poster presents research that synthesizes the main constraints and limits identified in the emerging body of EbA specific literature. We analysed in detail the following constraints: economic and financial, governance and institutional, social and cultural, knowledge constraints and gaps, and physical and biological constraints and limits. The identified constraints demonstrate the variety of limitations that ecosystem-based adaptation approaches can face, but also provide further grounds for research how such challenges can be overcome. The realization that human well-being is intrinsically connected to ecosystems and biodiversity can help approaches, such as EbA, to gain more hold and provide more positive development pathways that together can result in broader planetary well-being.