Sustainability Science

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 455–467 | Cite as

A social and ecological imperative for ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change in the Pacific Islands

  • T. HillsEmail author
  • T. J. B. Carruthers
  • S. Chape
  • P. Donohoe
Special Feature: Original Article Understanding and Managing Global Change in Small Islands


Climate change is predicted to have a range of impacts on Pacific Island ecosystems and the services they provide for current and future development. There are a number of characteristics that can make adaptation approaches that utilise the benefits of ecosystems a compelling and viable alternative to other adaptation approaches. The objective of this paper is to determine what level of relative influence technical and planning considerations currently have in guiding the recognition and application of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) approaches in the Pacific Islands context. The technical feasibility of EbA in relation to the expected impacts of climate change and the compatibility of adaptation planning processes of the Pacific Islands with EbA requirements was considered. The main barrier to fully implementing EbA in the Pacific Islands is not likely to be financial capital, but a combination of stable technical capacity within government departments to advise communities on EbA opportunities and the compatibility of planning frameworks.


Ecosystem-based adaptation Pacific Islands Ecosystem-based approaches Climate change Adaptation 



The authors thank Tracey Saxby for the development and preparation of Fig. 1. Symbols used were courtesy of the Integration and Application Network, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science ( Partial funding for T.J.B.C. was provided by the European Union through an Erasmus Mundus Research Fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Hills
    • 1
    Email author
  • T. J. B. Carruthers
    • 2
  • S. Chape
    • 2
  • P. Donohoe
    • 2
  1. 1.Conservation InternationalBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)VailimaSamoa

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