Harnessing nature to help people adapt to climate change

Abstract

Adapting to climate change is among the biggest challenges humanity faces in the next century. An overwhelming focus of adaptation strategies to reduce climate change-related hazards has been on hard-engineering structures such as sea walls, irrigation infrastructure and dams. Closer attention to a broader spectrum of adaptation options is urgently needed. In particular, ecosystem-based adaptation approaches provide flexible, cost-effective and broadly applicable alternatives for buffering the impacts of climate change, while overcoming many drawbacks of hard infrastructure. As such, they are a critical tool at adaptation planners' disposal for tackling the threats that climate change poses to peoples' lives and livelihoods.

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Figure 1: Coastal regions in Southeast Asia that are particularly vulnerable to climate change.

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Acknowledgements

We thank B. Nickel for GIS support and the Zavaleta lab, and R. Naylor for comments that improved this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Holly P. Jones or David G. Hole.

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Jones, H., Hole, D. & Zavaleta, E. Harnessing nature to help people adapt to climate change. Nature Clim Change 2, 504–509 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1463

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