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L’évaluation par les services écosystémiques des rivières ordinaires est-elle durable ?

By Laurent Lespez, Marie-Anne Germaine and Régis Barraud


The concept and methodology of the evaluation process by the ecosystem services has been highly developed at an international level since the early 2000s in the context of ecosystem evaluation for the millennium. Since then, this approach has been formalized and is part of most policy agendas. The Directive Cadre sur l’Eau (2000) is thus a field of application for approaches by the ecosystem services that affect each stage in its implementation (diagnostics, data recording program, public policy evaluation). While efforts undertaken to promote the ecological management of water ways is reflected in western France by the many projects of ecological restoration, conflicts between environment managers, elected officials, owners of hydraulic structures (sills, dams) and the local populations have increased. Faced with this situation, elected officials and managers in the field express the need to develop tools or methods that would enable them to make their choices more legitimate, reduce the uncertainties and even locally structure the debate. Their request thus encounters the approach of the ecosystem services promoted by many institutions responsible for water management. In addition to methodological issues (consideration of environmental amenities, questions of scale, etc.), this strategy confirms the emergence of a new management paradigm for ordinary rivers. It is through the lens of analysis of the historical timescale of productive systems, their associated representations and successive values, and the emergence and transformation of public policy that we address the significance of the evaluation process by the ecosystem services. This involves placing the modern relationship between experts and policies in a trajectory, to demonstrate the precariousness of representations of the structure and the difficulty in sustainably defining the common good in socio-environmental systems undergoing change. Indeed, the developed river is a “hybrid” object and examination of its timescale shows the succession of different management practices that were applied from the initial transformation of the river three thousand years ago to the inherited river we observe today. Such an examination reveals a path controlled by the sequence of complex measures aimed at maintaining the coherence of management practices and principles. We therefore propose the hypothesis that the new management paradigm promoted is the cornerstone of a new “power strategy”. Applied to the developed river, this strategy emphasizes the scientific expertise of modern biophysical processes in management decisions

Topics: rivers, ordinary rivers, western france, ecosystem services, scientific expertise, management, Environmental sciences, GE1-350
Publisher: Éditions en environnement VertigO
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.4000/vertigo.17443
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