Ecosystem based approaches for climate change adaptation in Caribbean SIDS

Pascal Peduzzi (UNEP/DEWA/GRID-Geneva), Alexander Wolf (ZMT Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Biology) (2013)

Existing climate variability and global climate change are major threat stosustainable development in the Caribbean, particularly for the Small Island Developing States(SIDS). Hurricanes, storms urges 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 reviewiew identifies Caribbean SIDS which highly depend on their marine ecosystems and are particularly vulnerable to climate change related risks and provides a recommendation on SIDS which are most suitable for EbA approaches including restoration and climate change adaptation efforts. Theselection 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. The island states of Grenada, SantaLucia, Jamaica, SaintVincent & the Grenadines and The Bahamas display suitable conditions, given certain prerequisites are to be met, for restoration efforts of various kinds to be implemented in the near future.