European bee-eaters in Italy. Photo: Tanja_G / Getty Images.

This paper is interested in how much adaptation practitioners and funders focus on how other species adapt to climate change. It examines one of the major international climate funds, the Adaptation Fund, and analyses the extent of funding that has been allocated for activities that address the needs of, and challenges faced by, other species. It also examines how and whether funded activities respond to the priorities emphasised by conservation literature and assesses whether ecosystem resilience was the primary focus of the activities funded.

It finds that the Adaptation Fund has committed relatively little financial support to ecosystem-related activities, at only around 15% of its total allocated funding. Of this, most activities focus on delivering specific ecosystem “services” for people – such as protection against flooding or coastal erosion – rather than for other species. This likely diminishes any positive effects that projects are making towards ecological resilience.

The paper concludes that ecosystem outcomes are of limited importance to almost all projects, even those projects that included some ecosystem-related activities. These findings raise serious questions about whether sufficient or meaningful attention and resourcing is given to how other species and natural ecosystems can adapt to climate change. The authors make recommendations on how climate funds, adaptation planners and project developers can address this.