Societies and natural environment are vulnerable to climate change. We can identify general adaptation principles at national levels, but adaptation is very much location‐specific. Management approaches need to consider local pressures, objectives, available resources and large scale human or ecosystem processes (migration, species movements, water processes etc.). This requires a systems approach, considering the full range of direct and indirect consequences of climate change that might affect our goals, and the effects that our adaptation responses might cause.
Ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) is an anthropocentric approach, in which ecosystem services are conserved or restored to reduce the vulnerability of people facing climate change threats. Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from (agro)ecosystems and can be classified as provisioning services (e.g. timber and firewood), regulating services (e.g. water regulation), and cultural services (e.g. recreation). Examples of EBA include the restoration of mangrove shelterbelts for the protection of coastal settlements against storms and waves and the conservation of (agro) forested watersheds for the reduction of flood risk. Many international and nongovernmental conservation and development organizations have promoted EBA by stressing its effectiveness in reducing social vulnerability, its cost efficiency, and its co-benefits for biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction and climate change mitigation.