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Vulnerability to natural disasters continues to increase, severely compromising the achievement of poverty alleviation goals in many developing countries. A more effec-tive approach is needed to reduce the impacts of these disasters. This publication proposes an approach that integrates ecosystem manage-ment, development planning and risk reduction strategies to reduce disaster impacts and improve both livelihoods and biodiversity outcomes.Ecosystem management can contribute to more effective reduction of disaster risk in two major ways.

Extreme weather events, driven largely by rising global temperatures, are increasing in both their frequency and impact. In the coming years, climate change is expected to further increase the severity and frequency of weather-related natural hazards such as storms, intense rainfall, f loods, droughts and heat-waves. From 1997 to 2006, more than 2.6 billion people were affected by hazards mostly related to weather extremes, causing over 1.2 million deaths and damage costing some US$800 billion.

This report presents seven case studies compiled by researchers and practitioners.

Areas used for urban farming and gardening, when compared to paved or asphalted grounds, have a positive contribution to climate adaptation. These green areas can be further adapted to climate impacts by introducing appropriate vegetation and crops for allotment and vegetable gardens. They should be, according to the climatic area resistant to droughts; such as saline vegetables and drought-tolerant plants and trees.

Integrated land use planning is a strategy to prevent climate impacts as there are flooding, drought, water scarcity and heat stress, as well as to avoid exposure of valuable elements to risks. Climate impacts can be prevented when changing land use in a way that it positively affect the regional water balance, which influences the evapotranspiration process through infiltration, the soil water redistribution process, and surface roughness, which controls overland flow velocity and floodplain flow rates.

Climate change is expected to have severe impacts on coastal areas in particular due to sea level rise. This can cause increase in flood risk, coastal erosion and loss of low-lying systems (e.g. deltas, coastal lagoons and barrier islands) due to permanent inundation. It can also induce or increase saltwater intrusion in freshwater systems, further endangering coastal ecosystems. Moreover, expected rise in sea water temperatures will contribute to a restructuring of coastal ecosystems with implications for ocean circulation, biogeochemical cycling and fishery yields.

It is increasingly recognized that both the availability and the quality of water are strongly influenced by forests and that water resources in many regions are under growing threat from overuse, misuse and pollution. The relationship between forests and water is therefore a critical issue that must be accorded high priority. Forest management measures can increase water yield, regulate water flow, and reduce drought stress for a forest.

Storing water in soil decreases the negative impacts of droughts. Several grey measures are available, and include measures based on the use of technology in agriculture, e.g. no-tillage, or cropping systems implemented to reduce water runoff. Runoff, depending on soil characteristics, can be delayed by tillage methods combined with plants having a high root density and lush surface cover.

This brief makes the case for ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) by presenting how it can generate multiple environmental, social and economic benefits. Research shows that benefiting from a wide range of ecosystem services is closely correlated with communities’ degree of resilience to challenges. It presents case studies from Peru, Nepal and Uganda.This guidance document is part of a series of learning briefs, which draw experiences and lessons learned from working on ecosystem-based adaptation within the global EbA in Mountain Ecosystems Programme from 2011 to 2015.

This brief provides an introduction to ecosystem-based adaptation to climatic risks and hazards. It presents the concept and principles of ecosystem-based adaptation, the environmental, social and cultural benefits, as well as case studies from Nepal, Peru and Uganda. Further, it proposes a framework for holistic ecosystem-based adaptation.This guidance document is part of a series of learning briefs, which draw experiences and lessons learned from working on ecosystem-based adaptation within the global ecosystem-based adaptation in Mountain Ecosystems Programme from 2011 to 2015.