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2017-01-10 | Peer Reviewed

Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of ecosystem-based adaptation: Kamiesberg wetlands case study

Black, David and Jane Turpie. 2016. “Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of ecosystem-based adaptation: Kamiesberg wetlands case study.” SAJEMS Asset research 19:5: 702-713.
Download reference Doi:10.17159/2222-3436/2016/v19n5a2

Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is increasingly being promoted as a cost-effective means of adaptation
to climate change. However, in spite of considerable international press, there is still little evidence to
substantiate this claim. This study proposes a method through which the cost-effectiveness of EbA
strategies can be evaluated against alternative adaptation options, and contributes to South African
literature on the subject. The potential cost-effectiveness of wetland restoration is assessed as a means of
securing the carrying capacity of land for pastoralist communities of the Kamiesberg communal area in
South Africa under projected future climate conditions. The conventional alternatives would be to respond to
increasingly dry conditions by drilling boreholes and using supplemental feed for livestock. It was assumed
that the EbA interventions would occur upfront, whereas the alternatives are more likely to be implemented
in reaction to droughts over a longer time period. The study found the implementation of conventional
alternatives to be more cost-effective than EbA as a means to sustaining livestock stocking rates, with EbA
being twice as costly. However, this is framed from the perspective of those directly affected (the
landowners), and does not include the benefits to broader society.