The Impacts of Climate Change on Ecosystem Services and Resulting Losses and Damages to People and Society

So far, studies of Loss and Damage from climate change have focused primarily on human systems and tended to overlook the mediating role of ecosystems and the services ecosystems provide to society. This is a significant knowledge gap because losses and damages to human systems often result from permanent or temporary disturbances to ecosystems services caused by climatic stressors. This chapter tries to advance understanding of the impacts of climatic stressors on ecosystems and implications for losses and damages to people and society. It introduces a conceptual framework for studying these complex relations and applies this framework to a case study of multi-annual drought in the West-African Sahel. The case study shows that causal links between climate change and a specific event, with subsequent losses and damages, are often complicated. Oversimplification must be avoided and the role of various factors, such as governance or management of natural resources, should be at the centre of future research.

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