Planning wetland conservation, restoration and creation for the safeguard of ecosystem services to local beneficiaries

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vendredi 20 déc. 01:45 PM (15 minutes)
Salle CD

Human activities have led to the degradation of wetlands, impinging on their capacity to deliver essential ecological services to society. Wetland restoration and creation thus now appear as an essential strategy to recover the supply of these ecological services, particularly in regions of high development for agriculture or urban expansion. Commonly, restoration is being conducted on a case-by-case basis, based on local opportunities. Yet, the cost and limited resources available for restoring disturbed wetlands call for changing this paradigm and to develop watershed scale approaches. Indeed, no formal framework have been developed to date for planning wetland restoration in order to maximize the supply of ecosystem services and fulfill the demand for these services, in strategic zones within watersheds. The objective of this study was to adapt the systematic conservation planning approach to wetland restoration and creation, using the St. Germain Basin, Qc, Canada, as a case study. To identify potential sites for wetland creation, we compared aerial photographs of 1979 to orthophotos of 2015 to locate historical wetlands that were lost through time. With those orthophotos, we also quantified seven major types of anthropogenic pressures within each site, and used those to estimate a range of potential restoration costs. We then modeled the supply and demand of four key ecological services associated with those sites. Finally, using the systematic planning software Marxan, we prioritized sites to ensure the maintenance of ecological services to local beneficiaries. The study offers an innovative framework to plan for wetland conservation, restoration and creation.

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