Environmental assessment and forward-looking scenarios: towards sustainable planning practices

Against a backdrop of declining biodiversity, it is necessary to consider the best strategies to incorporate ecological challenges into plans and projects. One possible avenue to achieve this is to encourage stakeholders to consider their practices to restore meaning and a framework to planning operations.

Background and objectives

Despite a “no net loss of biodiversity” target being enshrined in the French Environment Code in 2016, this objective has not yet been achieved. The mitigation hierarchy, the central pillar of environmental assessment, is among the key measures implemented to meet this challenge. However, despite being intended to remedy damage to the environment, compensatory measures (the last stage of the mitigation hierarchy) bear the brunt of all responsibility: authorisation to destroy biodiversity, “commodification” of nature, etc.

In order to put environmental issues back at the heart of land planning operations, this project – conducted by Hélène Barbé, under the supervision of Nathalie Frascaria-Lacoste – aims to consider the value and representation of biodiversity within the mitigation hierarchy and its legal framework. It strives to make sense of the controversies in the field of environmental compensation, with the ultimate goal of proposing alternatives to the current ways in which ecological challenges are addressed.

After the major challenges have been identified, the idea is to work with stakeholders in the field to build forward-looking scenarios, before extending these proposals to a broader sample and to hold participative workshops for situation and conflict simulations.

Illustration of the mitigation hierarchy applied to biodiversity (adapted from Lucie Bezombes, 2017).
Hélène Barbé
Research engineer in compensation measures
Université Paris-Saclay
Laboratoire Écologie Systématique Évolution
Scientific publication
Journal articles
Hélène Barbé, Nathalie Frascaria-Lacoste Integrating Ecology into Land Planning and Development: Between Disillusionment and Hope, Questioning the Relevance and Implementation of the Mitigation Hierarchy
Sustainability, 2021, 13 (22), pp.12726. ⟨10.3390/su132212726⟩
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Practitioner group
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