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From areal to multicriterial compensation : How to integrate soil ecosystem in compensation mechanisms applied in land-use planning?

English title From areal to multicriterial compensation : How to integrate soil ecosystem in compensation mechanisms applied in land-use planning?
Applicant Joerin Florent
Number 157872
Funding scheme NRP 68 Sustainable Use of Soil as a Resource
Research institution Haute Ecole d'Ingénierie et de Gestion du Canton de Vaud (HEIG-VD)
Institution of higher education University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland - HES-SO
Main discipline Social geography and ecology
Start/End 01.03.2015 - 30.06.2018
Approved amount 313'634.00
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All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Social geography and ecology
Information Technology
Agricultural Engineering
Pedology

Keywords (5)

Compensation; Land-use policy; Soil ecosystem; Decision support; Monitoring

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Aménager ou développer un territoire impacte le sol et ses fonctions, notamment. Ainsi, tout projet implique des mesures de compensation qui doivent permettre d’atteindre globalement un bilan équilibré. Dans la pratique, cette compensation se fonde essentiellement sur des équivalences surfaciques. Cette recherche propose une nouvelle approche du principe de compensation qui intègre les multiples dimensions de la qualité des sols, et complète les méthodes et les outils de l’aménagement du territoire.
Lay summary

Le principe de compensation est essentiel à l’aménagement du territoire parce qu'il crée un espace de négociation entre les acteurs des projets territoriaux. Toutefois, les pratiques de compensation sont largement menées d’une manière empirique. Comment affirmer que les mesures de compensations sont équivalentes aux impacts? Par qui et comment les mesures de compensation sont-elles définies? Un hectare de terre agricole déclassé en zone à bâtir est-il équivalent à un hectare de zone à bâtir reclassé en zone agricole?

Cette recherche a ainsi pour but d’améliorer la prise de décision lorsqu’il s’agit de compenser les impacts de projets territoriaux, en particulier sur la qualité des sols. Des entretiens permettront de comprendre comment ces mesures sont définies aujourd’hui. Nous explorerons les données et les indicateurs pour une intégration plus globale et fidèle de la qualité des sols dans les mesures de compensation. Sur cette base, nous concevrons une approche d’aide à la décision basée sur l’analyse multicritères et la cartographie interactive. Enfin, nous testerons notre proposition en réalisant une expérience d’aide à la décision dans un contexte réel.

Le résultat essentiel de cette recherche consiste à identifier les limites des modes de décision pratiqués pour définir des mesures de compensation des projets territoriaux. Pour les dépasser nous proposons des outils intégrant de nouveaux critères, mais aussi une réflexion sur leur mise en œuvre, afin de mieux intégrer les contextes réels encadrant la prise de décision.

L’apport de cette recherche se situe donc à l’articulation entre d’une part, des réflexions théoriques et méthodologiques et d’autre part, la réalité des décisions opérationnelles. En posant les bases d’une approche plus rigoureuse du principe de compensation, ce projet doit permettre, de faciliter les négociations autour des projets territoriaux et de maintenir globalement une meilleure qualité des sols.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 19.09.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Canton de Vaud / Direction générale de l'environnement et Service du développement territorial Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Philippe Baveye (Professeur AgroParisTech) groupe de travail sur les services écosystémiques des sol France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
SANU durabilitas Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Planning of Landscape and Urban Systems – PLUS /ETHZ Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Projet "Our Common soils" dir. P. Viganò, EPFL Lausanne Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Séminaire « On cross border land use and ecosystem services », EPFL dans le cadre du cours de bachelor "Alps. Prototypes for the Alpine City-territory" Talk given at a conference Vers une meilleure prise en compte des ressources naturelles dans l’aménagement du territoire: l’exemple du sol 16.04.2018 Lausanne, Switzerland Isenmann Florian;
Journées biennales des géosciences et de l'environnement - Session "Sol, sous-sol et qualité de l’environnement" Talk given at a conference Compsoil: de l’indicateur à la décision territoriale 13.02.2018 Lausanne, Switzerland Isenmann Florian;
Journée mondiale des sols 2017 Talk given at a conference Projet Compsoil - Outil d’aide à la décision pour améliorer la prise en compte des sols dans processus de compensation en lien avec les projets d’aménagement. 04.12.2017 Poitiers, France Isenmann Florian;
Journée Richard Quincerot 2017 - Les petites fugues. A qui profitent les surfaces d’assolement ? Talk given at a conference Critères pédologiques des surfaces d'assolement: une politique publique en faveur de la qualité des sols? 12.09.2017 Nyon, Switzerland Isenmann Florian;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Journée Richard Quincerot 2017 - Les petites fugues. A qui profitent les surfaces d’assolement ? 12.09.2017 Nyon, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
La qualité des sols et son évaluation - Master of Science in Life Sciences, HEPIA Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 04.05.2016 HEPIA Genève, Switzerland Gondret Karine;
Le cadre institutionnel et territorial des mécanismes de compensation - Master of Science in Life Sciences, HEPIA Performances, exhibitions (e.g. for education institutions) 04.05.2016 HEPIA Genève, Switzerland Isenmann Florian;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Nous avons un gros problème avec l'état de nos terres Tribune de Genève Western Switzerland 2018
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Site Internet - COMPSOIL Western Switzerland 2016

Abstract

In the aftermath of the February 2013 vote on the Review of the Planning Act and its subsequent Ordinance of April 2014, compensation has gained a lot of visibility. The total amount of buildable land is capped at the cantonal level. Pieces of land can be designated as built-up area only if an equivalent surface of previously buildable land is turned into non-buildable land (art. 52a, al. 2 OAT).Strong competition between possible land-uses generally occurs and interplays with soil ecosystems. Soil ecosystems as a whole are under continuous and increasing pressure due to the activities, goods and services they support or provide. For example, an agricultural zone may be transformed into a built-up area, a forest may be cut down for tourism development, or a protected habitat turned into arable land. These processes are governed by political and legal frameworks, which deal with economical and ecological interests of involved actors. These frameworks are carved out, first, to minimize the impacts on ecosystems and second, to compensate for the impacts that cannot be completely avoided. The idea of compensation is thus at the crossroad of many public policies dealing with land-use regulations. However, although compensation is de facto a central mechanism for land management, its rules and rationale are loosely defined in current practices. In other words, compensation principle has not been explicitly recognized as a crucial and decisive element of land-use policies. Therefore, it refers to diverse meanings, forms, and practices. Compensation measures implementation is based on ad hoc procedures tailored to specific context and stakeholders’ arrangements.This research proposal claims that theoretical and practical foundations of compensation measures and techniques are weak. It questions compensation mechanisms in order to highlight avenues for improvements. It is based on a basic premise and three hypotheses:Basic premise: The quantification of soil values can be successfully estimated through multifunctional quality indicators that are already available in Switzerland. Taking this quantification into account is likely to have a positive influence on compensation mechanisms.H-1.Compensation practices would be improved if more attention were paid to the intrinsic and specific qualities of soil ecosystems. Current compensation practices do not ensure soil quality preservation. Compensation measures and techniques that have been implemented in Switzerland over dozens of years do not fulfill the no-net loss requirement.H-2.Multi-criteria decision aid (MCDA) can support the stakeholders in developing and finalizing an agreement for the implementation of compensation mechanisms. MCDA allows for the internalization of goods and services of the soil as a resource and for the preservation of soil ecosystems. In the same time, by facilitating dialogue and exchanges in a structured manner, MCDA can help the stakeholders to build a consensus and to agree on the content of a compensation agreement.H-3.A decision support web-application (combining GIS and MCDA) could improve the implementation of compensation measures at a regional scale. This tool would suggest sites for better incoming compensation measures and would allow the monitoring of compensations measures that were previously applied in a specific area.The research proposal is designed to provide support in territorial decision-making. By crossing the disciplines and by bridging research and research-action, it sheds light on compensation mechanisms and provides for methodological tools. These tools are designed to help territorial actors involved in compensation issues to strengthen and consolidate their practices.The project is divided into three working packages. It is designed for a PhD candidate-to be under the supervision of Florent Joerin and Jean Ruegg-and is supported by one specific mandate. It requires the selection of case studies that are likely to be chosen from compensation practices already implemented in cantons Vaud and Geneva. WP-1: Reflexive analysis of compensation mechanisms, practices and techniques in Switzerland; monitoring of compensation mechanisms, follow-up and assessment of compensation procedures; identification of best-practices in a collection of selected countries form Europe and North America (relevant cases will be identified through a literature review). WP-1 will address the following questions: How are soil ecosystem values, social acceptability and political feasibility articulated in the compensation mechanisms that are scrutinized? Are there any innovative practices in compensation mechanisms? If so, what are there characteristics, and main drivers? What goods and services do innovative compensation mechanisms integrate and internalize?WP-2: Based on existing data, development of a set of indicators designed to provide a more comprehensive integration of soil quality in territorial decisions. WP-2 will address the following questions: What data is to be collected? Which indicators should/could be taken into account? At what scales should they be measured? Are these indicators completely or partially comparable? How can experts’ appraisals be defined and parameterized? Pascal Boivin (HEPIA) who is an expert on indicators of soil ecosystems will lead WP-2. By means of a literature review, an inventory of already available data, and a data collection in cantons Vaud and Geneva, WP-2 goal is to propose a large set of indicators able to document soil ecosystem values. These indicators will then be refined through focus groups gathering soil experts and land-use planners in order to identify a core set of indicators based on data availability, internalization of soil ecosystem values, and relevance from a decision-maker perspective.WP-3: Development of a Web-GIS application combined with MCDA to support decisions about compensation measures on a regional scale; recommendations-in terms of decision-making assistance-will be addressed to practitioners, civil servants, and elected bodies; they will suggest ways of integrating the multi-dimensions of soil ecosystems in compensation practices. The task will be to formalize and experiment decision-making processes adapted to the procedures (observed in WP1) and supported by the Web-GIS-MCDA application, in order to identify and propose ways for addressing the multi-dimensional equivalencies issue. WP-3 will address the following questions: Who are the key actors in charge of measures implementation? Who should be involved in the compensation agreement? What is the proper level/scale for the agreement implementation? What are the process steps? How should MCDA be framed and applied? What information must be provided? Who determines the preferences or values, and how? How can the negotiation and legal procedure be harmonized? Which criteria should be integrated in the MCDA in addition to those directly related to soil quality indicators? WP-3 has a clear research-action flavour to support decision-making processes dealing with compensation measures. Recommendations and proposals will be tested.In concrete terms, the research proposal is designed to deliver a critical and reflexive panorama of past, current and innovative compensation practices, a web-GIS-MCDA prototype to support decisions about compensation measures improving soil value preservation during the negotiation procedure, some “best-of” examples, a guide for a better governance of compensation measures, and scientific publications (articles in internationally-renowned journals).
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