Since 2015, the French Coral Reef Initiative (IFRECOR) has been developing MERCI-Cor a method to assess the significance of an ecological impact, to ensure better Avoidance and Reduction of ecological losses in the mitigation hierarchy, and sizing compensatory measures, to offset last residual losses. This project involved scientific parties (University Montpellier 3, Lab. CEFE and CRIOBE), NGOs (Blue finance), consulting companies and public regulators (Florida Dept of Env. Protection, French Dept fo Env Protection Agencies – Guadeloupe, Réunion Island and New Caledonia, French Ministry of the Env. and Barbados Env. Protec. Agency).
MERCI-Cor ensures the better application of Environmental Impact Studies (EIS), through indicators, to assess ecological losses due to the construction project or gains with a compensatory project. It’s founded on the RAM (Rapid Assessment Method) approach and the UMAM (in Florida) 10 years feedback. It’s using the DPSIR concept dedicated to scoring a level of pressure in compare with a good ecological status. The ecosystem is assessed among its three-dimension: landscape and location, habitat’s environmental structure (hydrodynamics and physicochemical processes) and habitat’s ecological structure (species and function). The indicators were chosen to be quickly and cost / efficiently addressed by a wide range of actor if the ecological baseline was workmanlike.
The method is affordable for consultants, construction companies as well as and public parties, regulators or NGO involved in marine and corals EIS.
In order to assimilate the method, Handbook 2 includes a general explanation of the MERCI-Cor method and an “in the field” example. The chapters describe specifically hierarchical phases of ecological compensatory mitigation:
- Method to assess losses and gains,
- Sizing ecological offset,
- Choice of compensation site and environmental engineering techniques,
- Implementation and monitoring of ecological performances.
- S.Pioch, M. Pinault, A. Brathwaite, N.Pascal, (2018). “Handbook I: Guide to environmental impact assessments of coral reef ecosystems” Ifrecor ed., Paris.
- S.Pioch, M. Pinault, A. Brathwaite, A. Méchin, N.Pascal, (2018). “Handbook II: Methodology for scaling mitigation and compensatory measures in tropical marine ecosystems” Ifrecor ed., Paris.