Ecosystem-based approaches have proven effective and efficient in reducing disaster risks while ensuring continued benefits to people from ecosystem services. In this article, a new concept of Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR) for enhancing social-ecological resilience is proposed, based on analysis of several case studies. Field studies in developing countries such as Ghana and Myanmar have shown the benefits of Eco-DRR as implemented by local communities. These projects improve local livelihoods and social-ecological resilience. In Japan, after the massive damage from the 11 March 2011, Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, ecosystem-based approaches were an important element of the national government’s DRR efforts. Analysis of these cases shows that Eco-DRR is a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable tool for DRR that creates new value for a region. It also shows the importance of multi-stakeholder participation in the process of promoting Eco-DRR. It is likely to become even more important in the future, as a means for addressing the increase in disasters resulting from climate and ecosystem change as well as demographic change. The contribution of Eco-DRR to maintaining and restoring ecosystems is particularly valuable for countries where there is reduced capacity for land management, as currently occurring in Japan due to rapid population decline and aging.