Ecosystems’ Role in Bridging Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation

Authored by: Nathalie Doswald , Marisol Estrella , Karen Sudmeier-Rieux

The Routledge Handbook of Disaster Risk Reduction Including Climate Change Adaptation

Print publication date:  April  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138924567
eBook ISBN: 9781315684260
Adobe ISBN: 9781317408659


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Ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR) and ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) are increasingly recognized as effective approaches to reducing disaster risk, including supporting adaptation, through the sustainable use, conservation and restoration of ecosystems as natural buffers to hazards. This recognition is evidenced by increased numbers of field projects, policies at the national and global levels and publications on Eco-DRR and EbA. One of the reasons for the increased interest and mainstreaming of ecosystem-based approaches is that they are often applied to both disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA). Ecosystems and their services are increasingly recognised as important to both DRR and CCA, and environmental degradation is clearly a leading driver in increasing disaster risk (IPCC 2014; UNISDR 2015). This chapter recognises that climate change should be considered as a contemporary ‘creeping environmental change’ alongside other important environmental drivers of risk (Kelman and Gaillard 2010). It also highlights that at the community level, distinctions between DRR, CCA, Eco-DRR and EbA are not relevant; rather, it is the sustainable utilisation of resources to sustain livelihoods and maximize human security which is important. However, at the global and national policy levels because DRR and CCA have been operating in different institutional and policy spheres, so have Eco-DRR and EbA practices evolved in parallel tracks, despite their common ecosystem-based approaches. Whilst there are strong arguments for embedding CCA within DRR as outlined in other chapters of this volume, Eco-DRR and EbA remain two strong parallel tracks, with different constituents, funding sources and spheres of influence. Yet ecosystems are the basis for DRR and CCA, and as we outline in this chapter, the similarities are much greater than the differences, providing a strong case for bridging the divide between the two.

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