Role Of Ecosystem Services In Climate Change Adaptation and DRR

Mar 28th, 2013 | By | Category: Development and Climate Change, Disaster and Emergency, Disasters and Climate Change, Environment, Health and Climate Change, Information and Communication, International Agencies, Land, Lessons, News, Vulnerability, Water

Okhimath-disaster 2012Eldis: This paper analyses the connections between climate change impacts, ecosystem degradation and increased risk of climate-related disasters. It defines the central role of ecosystem management in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR) and assesses the challenges for enhanced ecosystem management for climate change adaptation and DRR. Given the increasing importance of ecosystem services and management in climate change adaptation and DRR, the paper concludes that political commitment at the highest level is urgently needed if ecosystem management is to have the adequate weight it deserves in the post-2012 climate change agreement. The paper also recommends the allocation of further resources for integrating ecosystem management into climate change and DRR portfolios, including within national policy-setting, capacity building, planning and practices, particularly in developing countries vulnerable to climate change impacts and climate-related disasters.

Science has established that global climate change increases the frequency and intensity of climate-related disasters such as floods, fires, and droughts [1], and causes ecosystem degradation. This in turn reduces the resilience of ecosystems and human societies against the impacts of climate change and the increased risk of disasters. People derive indispensable benefits from ecosystem services. These include provisioning services, such as food, fuel and water; regulating services such as natural hazard miti-
gation, erosion control and water purification; supporting services such as soil formation and nutrient cycling; and cultural services such as recreational and other non-material benefits. Approximately 60 per cent of all ecosystem ser-vices and up to 70 per cent of regulating services are being degraded or used unsustainably [2]. Ecosystem degra-dation compromises the carbon sequestration ability of natural systems, and may turn these systems from carbon sinks to sources, thus exacerbating the downward spiral.

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