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Opportunities and challenges for mainstreaming ecosystem-based adaptation in local government: evidence from the Western Cape, South Africa


  • Lorena Pasquini


  • Richard Cowling


Ecosystem-based adaptation can reduce social vulnerability to climate hazards and can be more sustainable in the long term than hard technical solutions to adaptation. Thus, it can provide a strong argument for the conservation of natural ecosystems. As the entities most directly responsible for local-level planning and management, municipalities represent a potentially key site for implementing ecosystem-based climate adaptation. This paper presents the results of a study that investigated the extent of eight local municipalities’ knowledge and mainstreaming of ecosystem-based adaptation issues in the Western Cape, South Africa. Most municipalities had little understanding of ecosystem-based adaptation issues and limited implementation of relevant actions. Our findings suggest that ecosystem-based adaptation mainstreaming in local governments will be assisted by increasing learning and networking opportunities for municipalities and by increasing the “profile” of the concept of ecosystem-based adaptation, as well as by conducting research on barriers and enablers to collaborative governance. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Lorena Pasquini & Richard Cowling, 2015. "Opportunities and challenges for mainstreaming ecosystem-based adaptation in local government: evidence from the Western Cape, South Africa," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 1121-1140, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:endesu:v:17:y:2015:i:5:p:1121-1140
    DOI: 10.1007/s10668-014-9594-x

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Thomas G Measham & Benjamin L Preston & Cassandra Brooke & Tim F Smith & Craig Morrison & Geoff Withycombe & Russell Gorddard, 2010. "Adapting to Climate Change Through Local Municipal Planning: Barriers and Opportunities," Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series 2010-05, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.
    6. Robledo, Carmenza & Clot, Nicole & Hammill, Anne & Riché, Béatrice, 2012. "The role of forest ecosystems in community-based coping strategies to climate hazards: Three examples from rural areas in Africa," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 20-28.
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    1. repec:spr:climat:v:144:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10584-017-2008-y is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Wang, Y. & Huang, J., 2018. "Do forests relieve crop thirst in the face of drought? Empirical evidence from South China," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 276959, International Association of Agricultural Economists.


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