The application of the No Net Loss policy in Quebec: Can we really engender “social fit” for more sustainable land-use planning?

Biodiversité et politiques
jeudi 19 déc. 10:40 AM (15 minutes)
Salle EFG

Wetlands provide numerous ecosystem services such as flood control, water purification, habitat provision for a wide range of species and recreational opportunities but over the past century they have faced drastic decrease worldwide. In the province of Quebec, Saint-Lawrence lowlands lost 19% of their wetlands between 1990 and 2011 and over 30 000 km of streams have been linearized and redirected. The No Net Loss principle, which emerged at the end of the 1980s in the United States, ensures that the impacts on biodiversity caused by a development project are outweighed by measures taken to avoid and minimise the project’s impacts, to undertake on-site restoration and finally to offset the residual impacts, so that no loss remains. Building on Quebec case study of the recent introduction of an offsetting scheme and a broader mitigation hierarchy for wetlands and streams, we argue that the development of such systems strongly rely on a political and a social construction. In order to understand how mitigation and offset scheme are politically and socially constructed in Quebec evolving regulatory framework, we conducted 25 semi-structured interviews among stakeholders in two distinct watersheds. We were interested in analysing stakeholders’ roles to better understand the implications of their decisions within this complex socio-ecological system and in looking into dynamic, multi-scales, multi-stakeholders decision-making processes regarding wetlands and streams’ management. The NNL application reveals power asymmetry and imbalance between land-use and Water Resources Management institutions but also presents an opportunity for innovation towards more sustainable land-use planning.


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