Ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation (EbA) involve the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services to help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. This research looks at two components of effective EbA: ecosystem resilience and the maintenance of ecosystem services. It assesses EbA effectiveness in terms of how such approaches support community adaptive capacity and resilience at two sites in Bangladesh: Chanda Beel wetland and Balukhali Village in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Research findings suggest that more attention should be paid to EbA as an important climate-change response. Results show that the many diverse natural resources available and utilized at each site have increased the number of different subsistence and livelihood options available in the community and hence local adaptive capacity, especially for poorer households. Major structural shifts in ecosystem functioning observed at each site to date can be attributed primarily to non-climate-change-related factors, although climate-change-related factors increasingly threaten to dramatically alter ecosystems, especially in Chanda Beel. Such shifts have important consequences for adaptive capacity and have led to a number of trade-offs. The lack of effective institutions, good governance and enabling policy at both sites has limited potential resilience gains from sound ecosystem management.