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Forests and trees for social adaptation to climate variability and change

Ecosystems provide important services that can help people adapt to climate variability and change. This paper reviews the scientific literature related to ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) with forests and trees and highlights five cases in which forests and trees can support adaptation: (1) forests and trees providing goods to local communities facing climatic threats; (2) trees in agricultural fields regulating water, soil and microclimate for more resilient production; (3) forested watersheds regulating water and protecting soils for reduced climate impacts; (4) forests protecting coastal areas from climate-related threats; and (5) urban forests and trees regulating temperature and water for resilient cities. The literature provides evidence that EBA can reduce social vulnerability to climate hazards; however, uncertainties and knowledge gaps remain, particularly for regulating services in watersheds and coastal areas.