Between 2000 and 2010, as much as 48% of French wetland areas suffered from degradation. Although often necessary for human activity, expanding urbanization, transport infrastructure (roads, railways, airports, etc.) and river development projects can affect and even destroy wetlands. To repair this damage, this type of project must be approved and complemented by compensatory mitigation projects. These usually involve restoring or creating wetlands in order to maintain the functions previously provided by the affected wetlands on a river basin scale.
How can the functions provided by a wetland be evaluated before they are affected to ensure the compensatory mitigation project provides a functional equivalent? To answer this question, Onema, the French Natural History Museum and other partners including Irstea have developed an innovative method of evaluating wetland functions.