Assessing Barriers and Opportunities for Ecosystem Based Approach to Adaptation in High Altitude City of Thimphu

Sonam Wangyel Wang, Woo-Kyun Lee, Jeong-Gyu Kim


Scientific studies to understand challenges and opportunities for adaptation are crucial for adapting to climate impacts and averting disasters in cities. In this study, we attempt to assess baseline social and environmental conditions, identify challenges and barriers, and recommend ecosystem based opportunities for adaptation. The city’s infrastructure is poorly planned triggering congestion (which leads to increased carbon emission, road rage, etc.), flooding of sewage systems exposing humans to infections. Majority of the poor who live in informal settlements lack adequate access to basic facilities turn to natural resources thereby depleting the environment around the city. This leads to the loss of ecosystem services and protection against natural hazards such as flash floods, landslides, and forest fires which affects the vulnerable groups disproportionately. To improve socio-ecological resilience to cope with changing climate, the study also identified ecosystem based adaptation interventions such as urban agriculture, agroforestry, greening projects, resettlement of informal settlements, education on coping strategies, and building institutional, technical, and individual capacities to be integrated into climate adaptation strategies into development plans. The study also recommended that the city authority secure adequate funds and build capacity to plan ecosystem based adaptation and implement interventions.

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