Ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation (EbA) integrate the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services into an overall strategy for helping people adapt to climate change. To date, however, insight into these approaches has often been based on anecdotal case studies of local peoples’ use of ecosystems. A systematic map of ecosystem-based adaptation-relevant peer-reviewed literature, and a sample of grey literature, was undertaken to (1) give a methodical overview of the state of the evidence-base on ecosystem-based adaptation effectiveness and (2) identify key knowledge gaps. A framework was developed with stakeholders to assess the evidence-base for ecosystem-based adaptation effectiveness. The literature reviewed showed that much can be learnt about ecosystem-based adaptation from articles which considered climatic variability and climate extremes. Measures of the effectiveness of ecosystem-based adaptation-relevant interventions recorded in the articles showed positive results, although discussion of thresholds, limits and timescales related to these interventions was limited. Social, environmental and economic benefits of ecosystem-based adaptation interventions were in evidence in most articles, and though costs were discussed, this was limited in extent. It is concluded that the literature on ecosystem-based adaptation-relevant interventions addressing climatic variability, change, and linked extremes and natural hazards, contains some information that will support making the case for ecosystem-based adaptation, but the evidence-base has a number of gaps that should be addressed.