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Ecosystems Returning to Focus of Climate Change Fight

"This whole ecosystem services thing was big in the 1990s, but then it seemed to fade away," said Roshan Cooke, a climate and environment specialist with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, as he grabbed a quick vegetarian bite between sessions at the Adaptation Futures conference in Rotterdam.

"Now, It seems to be back — and in a big way."

Does it ever!

In just three days here, roughly 40 presentations focused on the subject of "ecosystems and ecosystem based-adaptation," and they focused on everything from the restoration of salt marshes that protect coastal communities from rising tides to the protection of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, which supports a massive agricultural economy.

The event comes just two weeks after Earth Day, when 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement to combat climate change — in part by "ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, including oceans, and the protection of biodiversity, recognized by some cultures as Mother Earth."

The agreement both sets and reflects an agenda taking place round the world, as issues long popular among theorists gain traction among practitioners — some of whom point to Article 5 of the Paris Agreement, the forest clause, which states, "Parties should take action to conserve and enhance, as appropriate, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases," as significant language regarding ecosystems.


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