Wednesday 7
Resilience & Economics 1
Marie-Gabrielle Piketty
› 11:35 - 12:30 (55min)
Resilience issue in an ecological compensation system: the case study of the first French habitat banking
Claude Napoléone  1@  , Thierry Dutoit * , Coralie Calvet * @
1 : INRA - Unité Ecodéveloppement  (INRA)
Avignon -  France
* : Corresponding author

Habitat banking is a legal system that allows to turning costs of creation or restoration of a specific natural resource, into financial assets. These assets can be sold to developers, who have to offset for its projects' impacts to this same type of natural resource. It is assumed to perform offsetting measures in a principle of not net loss of biodiversity preceding environmental harms through measures of restoration or rehabilitation of other lands (Carroll, 2008; Briggs et al., 2009; BBOP, 2012). The protected area created offers a tool to connect patches of natural areas (ecological corridors) in larger networks that allow ecologically greater answers and more logical conservation measures than in another offsetting form (Hill, 2005; Hill and Gillespie, 2008). Further, offsetting banks help raising private funds for the preservation of biodiversity or the restoration of damaged natural areas.


Is it a way to avoid a loss of biodiversity or an undesirable regime shift for threatened areas? Based on the analysis of first French habitat banking experience, our presentation will put on perspective the restoration ecology and neo-institutional economics approaches, in order to examine the effect of this experience on Social-ecological systems dynamics, for the study area (Plaine de la Crau, France).


The whole difficulty of the habitat banking scheme, is to define the ecological equivalence between natural spaces loss and restored, and to manage the restored area at a geographical and temporal scales of ecosystems. So, the efficiency of habitat banking must be assessed in view of the ecological complexity and temporality on which rely uncertainties depending on the management of the site and the sustainability of the governance. The final issue is how to link indicators of ecological success of offset measures with the temporal evolution of both the socio-economic and ecological dimensions.


In this presentation, we will briefly remind the history of the site. The original ecosystem namely “Les Coussouls de Crau” is the result of millennia of interactions between soil, climatic conditions and extensive sheep grazing located here since more than 6000 years (Henry et al., 2010; Jaunatre et al., 2011). This area is composed of plant and animal species whose protection is a major issue, especially in the context where urban and industrial pressures are increasingly strong. We show that the co-evolution between ecosystem and extensive agriculture induced the original scheme stability. In a recent past, ecological and institutional changes induced by the intensive cultivated orchard (mono-specific culture, governance by the land owner), finish to destroy the original ecosystem that current habitat banking experience tend to restore. In this context, we will analyze the conditions and limits of this new governance scheme questioning the resilience issue in the habitat banking mechanism (including interventions in restoration ecology, management piloted by a third institution, control by a decentralized services of state, agreements with farmers, etc.).

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