Ecosystem-based Adaptation

Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA), also referred to as Nature-based Solutions for Adaptation, involves a wide range of ecosystem management activities, such as the sustainable management of forests, grasslands, and wetlands, that increase the resilience and reduce the vulnerability of people and the environment to climate change. 

About Nature-based Solutions and climate adaptation

Climate change is causing a wide array of impacts around the world, such as sea-level rise, increased climate variability, and more frequent or intense droughts, floods, and wildfires. These impacts have increasingly severe social and economic consequences, with adaptation needs particularly urgent in low and lower middle-income nations and Small Island Developing States, as they are experiencing the most severe impacts of climate change and have lower adaptive capacity.

Healthy ecosystems provide important ecosystem services that can contribute to climate change adaptation. For example, healthy mangrove ecosystems provide protection from the impacts of climate change, often for some of the world's most vulnerable people, by absorbing wave energy and storm surges, adapting to rising sea levels, and stabilizing shorelines from erosion. EbA focuses on benefits that humans derive from biodiversity and ecosystem services and how these benefits can be used for managing risk to climate change impacts.

EbA involves the conservation, sustainable management and restoration of ecosystems, such as forests, grasslands, wetlands, mangroves or coral reefs to reduce the harmful impacts of climate hazards including shifting patterns or levels of rainfall, changes in maximum and minimum temperatures, stronger storms, and increasingly variable climatic conditions. EbA measures can be implemented on their own or in combination with engineered approaches (such as the construction of water reservoirs or dykes), hybrid measures (such as artificial reefs) and approaches that strengthen the capacities of individuals and institutions to address climate risks (such as the introduction of early warning systems).


IUCN work on EbA

Since 2009, IUCN has promoted the use of EbA as a nature-based solution for addressing the impacts of climate change on people and their environment.

In its work on EbA, IUCN has achieved:



that directly and/or indirectly contribute towards climate change adaptation and resilience (from 2015-2021).

EUR € 230M

in project funding

that contribute towards climate change adaptation and resilience (from 2015-2021).

Scaling up mountain EbA

Healthy mountain ecosystems help buffer the impacts of climate change for local communities, wildlife and downstream populations worldwide. With the Scaling up mountain EbA project, IUCN expanded its EbA work in the Himalayas (Nepal), Mount Elgon (Uganda) and the Andes (Peru) to help build support for EbA approaches in mountain ecosystems, both on the ground and in national and international policy. The project also supports neighbouring countries Bhutan, Kenya and Colombia in adopting.the EbA approach. 

Integrated approaches to adaptation

Nature-based solutions for adaptation hold huge potential to work right now to buffer the impacts of climate hazards for frontline communities.

Stewart Maginnis, IUCN Deputy Director General, speaking at COP26

If adaptation policies and programs are to be effective, they must integrate efforts to sustain and restore ecosystem functions and promote human rights under changing climate conditions. EbA approaches should not stand alone, but be implemented as one component of wider adaptation and development strategies.

IUCN works at this interface in collaboration with the UNFCCC Nairobi Work Programme on Adaptation and Technology Executive Committee, working on adaptation solutions that integrate both nature, technology, and infrastructure development.