Ecosystem based approaches for climate change adaptation in Caribbean SIDS

Ecosystem based approaches for climate change adaptation in Caribbean SIDS

Existing climate variability and global climate change are major threats to sustainable development in the Caribbean, particularly for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Hurricanes, storm surges and extreme rainfall events cause major damages to the assets of coastal populations, infrastructure and ecosystems.

Climate projections suggest that sea level rise (SLR) and the increase of sea water temperature will continue, as well as the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events are likely to increase. Ecosystem ‐ based Adaptation (EbA) approaches, combining both engineered and community ‐ based benefits, are promising to prepare SIDS for future climate change scenarios.

This review:

i) identifies Caribbean SIDS which highly depend on their marine ecosystems and are particularly vulnerable to climate change related risks, and

ii) provides a recommendation on SIDS which are most suitable for EbA approaches including restoration and climate change adaptation efforts. The selection was based on an assessment of the most important coastal ecosystems, namely mangrove forests, seagrass meadows and coral reefs, which can mitigate the consequences of climate change. In particular, the ecosystems’ extent, status, and potential to climate change adaptation (CCA) were assessed.

The existence of protected areas and the management of those areas were considered additional assets as they constitute absolute pre-requisites for any EbA approach addressing restoration efforts, to become successful in the long run.

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