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Compensating for damage to biodiversity : the American experience of wetlands banks
Commissariat général au développement durable
Le point sur - Numéro 134 - Août 2012
To compensate for the negative impacts of their projects on biodiversity, and which can neither be avoided nor sufficiently reduced, developers may use a “mitigation bank”. They will then purchase credits for habitats or species that are equivalent to these impacts. Whereas France has only been experimenting with this innovative economic tool since 2008, the French Ministry of Sustainable Development (Ministère du développement durable) has analysed the long experience of mitigation banks in the United States, where they account for 26% of the compensatory measures carried out, in order to learn from them. The overall picture is mixed in terms of the ecological results and the redistribution of ecosystem services at the local level. The banks only provide the expected benefits if a conducive framework exists : rules of exchange, legal and financial instruments, transparency and monitoring. These conditions for success, which have progressively been implemented in the United States, may be beneficial to the experimentation with compensation banking in France.