Worldwide, the climate has changed, and will continue to change (van Aaslt, 2006). The World recognized climate change as the dominant driver of biodiversity change by the end of this century (MEA, 2015). Increasing climate-related natural disasters such as flash floods, droughts, landslides, tornado-type winds, coastal storms and tropical cyclones have been observed in Sri Lanka (Punyawardena et. al., 2013).
One approach to reduce climate induced vulnerability is to better understand the risks and employ Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA). It involves maintaining, to be healthy and functioning, intact natural ecosystems — such as forests, wetlands, mangroves, and coral reefs — and thereby, minimizing natural hazards. EbA promotes biodiversity, ecosystem services and community resilience (UNEP, 2016), as opposed to building infrastructure to meet climate risks. EbA also involves minimization of non-climatic anthropogenic risks on ecosystems.
Although there is a growing body of research on climate change and agriculture (inter alia, Athulathmudali et al., 2011; De Costa, 2000; Eriagama et al., 2010; Esham and Garforth, 2013), research linking climate change and biodiversity is lacking. Thus, promotion of EbA through ecosystem leadership and awareness, as a means of adapting to climate change, as well as allocating resources for EbA related investments in national budgets, becomes important.
Target 11 is designed to address this lacuna and its actions will initiate research on impact of climate change on natural hazards and biodiversity; develop home gardens, urban and rural green spaces to enrich carbon stocks; implement mangrove and river bank restoration and forest conservation projects for watersheds; identify and promote species that are resilient to extreme conditions and use them for agriculture and forestry; and mainstream EbA) and ecosystem-based adaptation to disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR).