MERCIe, an operational method to avoid, reduce, compensate for ecological impacts
- MERCIe, an operational method to avoid, reduce, compensate for ecological impacts
In 2016, the law of reconquest of biodiversity strengthened the requirements for the implementation of the sequence Avoid-Reduce-Compensate (ERC) by developers. Nonetheless, a Senate report issued in May 2017 again pointed to the shortcomings of the application of the regulatory texts prior to this law. The difficulties inherent in putting the ERC sequence into practice are known. One of them is the lack of shared methods for assessing ecological equivalence or sizing the compensation. This lack is to be linked in particular to the scientific complexity of the subject, as shown by the numerous scientific publications dealing with the subject, as well as its territorial dimension. The proposal of evaluation methods is therefore an important issue for both territorial actors, ERC practitioners and researchers.
How to propose a method that becomes a real tool for practitioners, that is to say an object that really helps them to accomplish their task, while taking up the available scientific knowledge? We hypothesize that what we call the "user dimension" of these methods is just as important as the scientific dimension that often occupies the foreground. We call "users", ERC practitioners: developers, consultants, government departments, etc.
We will try to answer the following questions:
How is the user dimension taken into account in the tools available to ERC practitioners for assessing ecological equivalence?
How to describe the link between ERC practitioners and experts / researchers entrusted with the design of evaluation tools?
To do this, we will organize the work around 3 axes. i) The first axis uses social science tools with a double survey of experts and practitioners. This will involve identifying interface devices between experts and practitioners, collaborative experiences around tool design, and so on. ii) Our second line of work will focus on the documents produced by researchers on the one hand, and practitioners on the other hand. Through a review of the international academic literature on ecological equivalence, we will identify the recommendations that experts make for practice. We will carry out an analysis of a sample of impact studies to identify whether the experts 'recommendations are present in the developers' files, and if so, which ones and how. iii) Finally, our third area of work will focus on the MERCIe method (Compensation Sizing Method). We will test a so-called end-user approach through testing of real-life projects and workshops with operational partners.
Based on this work, we hope to i) propose an evolution of the MERCIe method in line with the needs of the actors in the field and targeting the three components of the ERC sequence, and ii) propose a reproducible approach to the design of methods and tools , more towards the end user, whether in terms of construction process, or in terms of tool shape.