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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 2013 Vol. 9, No. 2, 166–177, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21513732.2013.784877 Exploring the links between local management and conservation applying the ecosystem services concept: conservation and tourism service in Camargue, France a b,c, a d Coralie Beltrame , Emmanuelle Cohen-Shacham *, Marie Trouillet and Fanny Guillet a b Department of Monitoring, Evaluation and Wetland Policy, La Tour du Valat, Le Sambuc, 13200 Arles, France; Department of Zoology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel; SIAM Department, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), P.O. Box 611, 8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland; CERSP UMR 7204, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 55 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France This article aims at testing whether the ecosystem services framework helps in understanding the link between local manage- ment and biodiversity conservation. Tourism was analysed in Camargue (France), a wetland area of high biodiversity value, via semi-structured interviews with local stakeholders. Three types of stakeholders were interviewed: protected area man- agers, livestock farmers and public institutions. This was done to examine whether they manage the land to enable tourism and/or maintain or restore the ecological state of ecosystems. It was found that tourism sustainability is taken into account by protected area managers and livestock farmers. Management measures are partly taken to facilitate tourism and partly to make it compatible with the stakeholders’ main activity as well as with the required ecological state of the ecosystem. Conversely, public institutions that are in charge of tourism do not consider damage caused to ecosystems, which has led to the unsustainable use of beaches. We argue that the ecosystem services concept is useful for conservation provided that both sides of land management are taken into account: the use of ecosystem services and the maintenance or restoration of ecosystems. The sustainability of the use of ecosystem services should be central in future research and implementation. Keywords: ecosystem services; local management; tourism; biodiversity conservation; wetland; Camargue 1. Introduction changes. This should lead to a more equitable distribution of the economic impact of new land management poli- Ecosystems are the ultimate basis of economic and social cies, as well as a more sustainable use of natural resources development upon which human well-being relies (Gomez- (TEEB 2010). Still, the implementation of ES in the devel- Baggethun & de Groot 2010). The fact that standard opment of land management policies is not without its economic theory neglects this aspect has been identiﬁed problems (e.g. Daily et al. 2009; Seppelt et al. 2011), and as a main cause of current environmental degradation going through the ‘implementation gap’, that is, the chal- (MA 2005). Reconnecting economic systems with under- lenge that arises with calls for ES to be used to shape lying ecological systems has become a major aim of management, remains a major issue for the ES framework sustainability science (Gomez-Baggethun et al. 2010). The (Miner 1984; Cook and Spray 2012). ecosystem services (ES) concept, ﬁrst developed in the The emergence and development of this concept not 1970s, becomes today a major concept in sustainability only helps strengthen the link between land management science (Gomez-Baggethun et al. 2010). ES is deﬁned and environmental economics but also with ecological sci- as the beneﬁts that humans obtain from ecosystems (MA ence. With the ES concept, sustainability science explicitly 2005). Its strength lies in its capacity to propose a coher- includes ecosystems as a new object of interest, as well ent framework to the theories and tools developed so far in as natural resources and the environment. The underlying environmental and ecological economics. assumption is that ES can be delivered to human soci- In the last decade, ES has become an important eties, insofar ecosystems are in a good functional state paradigm of research in land (e.g. Eppink et al. 2012) (MA 2005). Nevertheless, ecosystems and biodiversity and water and wetlands management (Maltby & Acreman conservation are recognised as major problematic issues 2011; Cook & Spray 2012). Employing the ES concept in the twenty-ﬁrst century, owing to their ongoing decline is intended to support the development of policies and (Butchart et al. 2010). Therefore, the ES approach offers instruments that integrate social, economic and ecologi- a justiﬁcation for conservationists to conserve ecosystems cal perspectives in a sustainable way (Seppelt et al. 2011). in order to conserve the ESs that they in turn provide. It is often seen as a means to provide clearer insight into The dependency of the economy on ‘natural assets’ leads the economics of conﬂicting land management goals (e.g. to biodiversity conservation being based upon economic Balmford et al. 2011). Understanding welfare gains and rationales (e.g. Daily and Ellison 2002). It is worth noting losses from changes in land management can help policy- that this strategy is highly debated among conservationists. makers in designing policies that address undesired welfare *Corresponding author. Email: email@example.com © 2013 Taylor & Francis International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 167 Indeed, the conservation of ESs is not equivalent to the con- restore ecosystems. In this last case, land management is servation of biodiversity (Naidoo et al. 2008; Ridder 2008; performed to maintain the ecosystem in a good ecological Schneiders et al. 2011), and it directs ecological research state or to restore it. Ecosystems provide services only if towards demonstrating theoretically and empirically how they are maintained. Therefore, to evaluate the ecosystem’s the stock of nature delivers ﬂows of services, instead of sustainability, it is interesting and important to disentangle focusing on biodiversity (Norgaard 2010). From a conser- these two sides of land management. vation point of view, it is necessary to check if the use of To study the input of the ES concept to the under- this concept effectively allows taking into account ecosys- standing of local management, we focused on one service: tem conservation in land management before focusing tourism. Nature-based tourism is used as an argument for on it. ecosystem conservation, based on the fact that the tourism The purpose of this article is to assess if ES can serve sector partly depends on natural features (Gössling 1999; as a core framework to study management in ecosys- Honey 1999). It is often presented as a win-win activity tem conservation. This question is tackled at the local for both local development and biodiversity conserva- scale, based upon a study in the Natural Regional Park tion, since it can provide funds for conservation projects of Camargue (NRPC). The NRPC is located in a delta, (see, for example, López-Espinosa de los Monteros 2002; at the mouth of the Rhône River in France. It covers Alpizar 2006) or be a lever for development in develop- 101.000 ha and is a mosaic of fresh, brackish and saline ing countries (Cater 1993). Nevertheless, tourism studies wetlands, interspersed with areas of intensive agricul- have also shown the paradoxical aspects of this sector, ture and industry (Mathevet 2004). This wetland is of as tourism is a non-sustainable global industry, impacting international importance and is one of the best exam- upon water use, enhancing greenhouse gas emissions and ples of strong interrelationships between human activities causing ecosystem destruction (Gössling 2002; Billé et al. and ecosystem evolution, mainly because of high eco- 2009). The development of the ecotourism or sustainable logical constraints (soil salinity, inundations, wind). This tourism approach aims to respond to this issue. But it co-evolution has been possible through the control of water raises regularly underlined problems in the sharing of ﬂuxes (Chauvelon et al. 2003), but it is currently facing beneﬁts between local populations and biodiversity conser- complicated conservation and development issues (Picon vation (Cater 1993; Gössling 1999). In spite of discussed 2008; Roché & Aubry 2010). results in the ﬁeld (Fennell 2009), the ecotourism approach The ES concept tends to make explicit the bidirec- highlights that tourism activities rely on ecosystems. tional relationship between the ecosystems and human In the NRPC, tourism is an activity of grow- societies concerned through management (MA 2005). The ing importance, but it has nevertheless been studied ‘ES framework’ used in this study is illustrated in Figure 1. very little (Mathevet 2004; Picon 2008). It is highly As presented in this ﬁgure, the link between ecosystems diverse, from mass tourism on the seashore to cultural and societies is a two-way relationship. First, ecosystems and natural tourism in the inner parts of the NRPC. provide, or are used to provide, services to human soci- Tourism in this region thus implies different types of eties. Land management is aimed at using or enhancing stakeholders. Interactions between tourism and natural the services delivered by the ecosystems. It can impact assets are strongly felt since seaside tourism uses large the state of ecosystems in a positive (e.g. regulated graz- beaches, cultural tourism uses the semi-natural pastures ing) or negative (e.g. overexploited ﬁsheries) way. Second, of the livestock farms, and natural tourism takes place in societies can decide not to do anything or to conserve and protected areas. This study thus focuses on perceptions Land management Use or enhancement of ecosystem services Ecosystems Human Societies Biophysical Socio-economic structures & development Functions processes & human well-being Maintenance or restoration Figure 1. Conceptual framework linking ecosystems to human societies through land management (adapted from MA 2005 and de Groot et al. 2010). 168 C. Beltrame et al. and practices of stakeholders that manage tourism-related and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône. The littoral zone is highly ecosystems. dynamic in the NRPC, with areas of high erosion and To verify whether the ES framework helps under- accretion. A major issue concerns Saintes-Maries-de-la- stand local management, we aim to answer the follow- Mer, with a mean retreat of the coastline of 10–15 m/yr ing research questions: (1) Are stakeholders’ manage- (NRPC 2009). Retreat is also high at the beach of ment objectives understandable within the framework of Piémanson (Arles), whereas accretion is dominant at the ES and, if not, what does the translation into ES terms beach of Beauduc (Arles) and in Port-Saint-Louis-du- imply? (2) How do stakeholders manage the land to use Rhône. These contrasting dynamics are mainly due to the and enhance ES provision? (3) Do stakeholders manage decrease of sedimentary load in the Rhône River and its the land to maintain or restore the ecological state of uneven distribution by waves, wind and marine currents ecosystems? (Maillet et al. 2003). Tourism is a major activity in the NRPC in terms of income and employment, together with agriculture and nature protection, with one million visitors per year (NRPC 2. Methods 2006). Tourism is vital for the local economy and for most 2.1 Study area of the stakeholders as main or complementary economic activity. Seaside tourism is dominant, with half a million The Rhône delta is one of the main wetlands in France visitors per year (NRPC 2006), representing half of the and is of major importance for biodiversity (Heath and total amount of tourists coming to the NRPC. It encom- Evans 2000) (Figure 2). It is not homogeneous over its passes authorised beach tourism near seaside resorts as 101,000 hectares and can be divided into three belts of well as forbidden wild camping on remote beaches. This activities, linked with the ecosystems it contains: (1) The latter activity was traditionally tolerated (Nicolas 2008) for natural belt, which is the core area, covering 25,000 pro- local tourism for many years. In fact, low class people tected hectares of large lagoons, marshes and reed beds. from surrounding cities came to camp on these beaches The main activities there are nature protection, restricted for several weeks despite their difﬁculty of access. These natural tourism, ﬁshing and livestock farming. (2) The belt practices remain until now. The next most prevalent form of extensive land uses is characterised by marshes, reed of tourism is cultural tourism, which is of two kinds: urban beds, lawns and salt marshes. The activities characterising tourism, which is focused on historical monuments in the this belt are tourism, livestock farming, nature protection, cities of Arles and Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer; and second, hunting, ﬁshing and reed harvesting. (3) The belt of inten- rural tourism, which is mainly related to traditional bull sive production covers the periphery of the delta with activities (bull ﬁghting and bull running traditions), in the salt production, beach activities and mass tourism in the belt of extensive land use (livestock farms). Lastly, nature south and agriculture elsewhere (Figure 2). Three cities are tourism takes place mostly in the natural belt (protected located within the NRPC: Arles, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer Figure 2. Map of the studied area. The natural belt comprises the central and seaside lagoons, the belt of extensive use of the surrounding natural and semi-natural habitats, and the belt of intensive use of the agricultural lands and salt production facilities. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 169 areas). Both rural and nature tourism attract a lower num- areas that are open to the public within the NRPC. In agro- ber of visitors per year. In this study, we focused on the pastoral areas, ﬁve selected livestock farmers, located in types of tourism closely linked to ecosystems, excluding different areas of the NRPC, were selected and inter- cultural tourism in urban areas. viewed. Regarding coastal ecosystem and seaside tourism, For the three types of tourism studied – seaside, there are no speciﬁc actors directly involved in their man- nature and rural – speciﬁc stakeholders, concerned with agement. Therefore, we interviewed people in charge of ecosystem management and public reception, were iden- tourism in public institutions (town halls and technical tiﬁed through a preliminary study. The study was based tourist ofﬁces) in the three local cities (Arles, Saintes- on 10 key open interviews, the consultation of doc- Maries-de-la-Mer and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône), as the uments relevant to water management at the NRPC, only formal representatives of coastal ecosystem. Between and on stakeholders’ interactions in the socio-ecosystem one and four interviews in each organisation were carried (e.g. Dervieux 2005; Mathevet et al. 2011). The main out. Altogether, 23 stakeholder interviews were conducted stakeholders representing seaside tourism were identiﬁed within the NRPC to investigate management practices as public institutions in charge of the coastal ecosystem within their own estates, whether public or private. and of socio-economic development. Protected area man- The structure of the interview mainly comprised open- agers were identiﬁed as the relevant stakeholders for nature ended questions, with a small number of factual questions tourism, and livestock farmers for rural tourism. (Appendix 1). Open-ended questions were aimed at deﬁn- ing tourism in the NRPC and the management of the area visited by the tourists. They referred to the manage- ment objectives, the objectives related to public reception, 2.2 Conceptual frameworks site management, management tools and measures used With its aim to use the ES concept as a core framework and the results regarding the objectives. The closed-ended to understand ecosystem management in one area, this questions aimed at quantifying tourism ﬂow into each site, study was designed to highlight both the way managers by referring to the attendance, the types of groups, sources use ecosystems to employ or enhance ESs (in this case, of tourists and the proportion of total turnover of the organ- tourism), and the way they manage an ecosystem to main- isation. Interviews lasted between one and two hours and tain a good ecological state, or restore it. Our method were all conducted face to face. This enabled us to system- belongs to the socio-ecological approach (e.g. Barthel et al. atically collect sensitive data, while allowing stakeholders 2010), aimed at describing the uses of ES and the rela- to share experiences and interpretations, based on their tionship between these uses and the ecosystem through own perspectives and practices, and bring up issues not management practices. covered by the questionnaire. All interviews were recorded The study was developed within the ES conceptual and transcribed for analysis. framework (see Figure 1), linking ecosystems and soci- ety and applying the TEEB classiﬁcation (TEEB 2010) for qualifying the different ES: provisioning services, regulat- 2.3.2 Cross-checking ing services, cultural services and habitat services. The interviews were cross-checked with data from the grey literature, particularly with documents formulated by the 2.3 Data collection: the ethnographic methodology managers themselves, such as communication documents, activity reports and management plans. This enabled us For data collection and analysis, our methodology corre- to spot overlaps between the objectives formalised in the sponded to the ethnographic approach (Olivier de Sardan different documents and the practices described during 1995, 1996) based on the accumulation and saturation of the interviews. In addition, we invited the interviewed qualitative data. Four data sources complementing each stakeholders to comment on some relevant documents other were used: semi-directive interviews, exploratory during the interviews, allowing them to give their own interviews, grey literature analysis and ﬁeld observations. perception of the different items and to eventually raise problems. Finally, we conducted ﬁeld observations, which gave us a global vision of tourism management in the 2.3.1 Semi-directive interviews different sites. We based the study on semi-directive interviews conducted over a period of six months in 2011 with stakeholders concerned with both ecosystem management and public 2.4 Analysis reception. Given the aim of the research, capturing as much information possible on management practices Data analysis consisted of two stages: (1) interview tran- for each ecosystem concerned was the main considera- script coding and analysis of individual uses of ecosystems; tion for our sampling strategy. We therefore focused on (2) ecosystem management analysis in the whole area. tourism stakeholders that directly manage tourism-related First, we split the data into three main categories in ecosystems. For nature tourism, the intention was to be accordance with our three questions: (i) classiﬁcation of exhaustive, interviewing managers from all seven protected the stakeholders’ management objectives and hierarchy; 170 C. Beltrame et al. (ii) characterisation of the practices of management aimed a priority objective for protected area managers, since it at developing the tourist attraction; and (iii) characterisa- is their mission statement. Livestock farmers and public tion of the practices of management aimed at maintaining institutions also mentioned this issue but as the last man- or restoring the state of the ecosystem. For this last step, to agement objective. Conversely, tourism is a high manage- ﬁnd a framework relevant for the three types of interviewed ment objective for all three-stakeholder types, as it is the stakeholders, we distinguished tourism and ecosystem con- second objective for protected area managers and live- servation from the stakeholders’ main objective and looked stock farmers, and part of ‘socio-economic development’ at the relationships between the three. as mentioned by the public institutions. During the ﬁrst step involving the ranking of the The interviews revealed that most of the stakeholders stakeholders’ management objectives, we also translated did not know the term ‘ecosystem services’ (4 out of the objectives as stated by the interviewees (traditional 19 interviewees, 3 of which were protected area managers). uses) into the ES wording using the TEEB classiﬁcation They used vocabulary corresponding to traditional uses to (TEEB 2010). describe their management objectives, both in the inter- While analysing the data belonging to each views themselves as well as in the management documents stakeholders’ category, we worked iteratively between (if applicable). The translation of some objectives in terms the transcripts and the data coming from other sources of ES was straightforward (Table 2), while others were (documents and ﬁeld observations), to triangulate data hardly translatable (e.g. enhancing socio-economic devel- and specify the results. Data triangulation was of vital opment or giving value to their estate). For this reason, importance for a strong reliability of analysis, regarding these objectives were not translated and are not shown in the position of the researcher vis-à-vis the interviewees Table 2. well known in ethnographic studies (Favet-Saada 1977; The interviews and the analysis of management plans Devereux 1980). (where in existence) showed that, even if promoting Second, we aggregated stakeholders’ practices and tourism was a major objective for both protected area man- analysed the categorised data at the scale of the whole area, agers and livestock farmers, it was second to protecting the to reach a global view of tourism management and its link environment and livestock farming, respectively. Protected with the ecosystems concerned. area managers and livestock farmers identiﬁed trade-offs and synergies between their ﬁrst objective and tourism (Table 3). Public institutions only identiﬁed synergies between tourism and their ﬁrst objective, i.e. socio- 3. Results economic development, and often cited tourism as the best 3.1 Stakeholders’ management objectives activity to achieve that objective. We asked the different stakeholders to state what were their management objectives in hierarchical order and their answers are presented in Table 1. From the stakeholders’ answer, we can observe that protecting the environment is 3.2 Development of the land by stakeholders for tourism development Table 1. Hierarchical order of management objectives for the Interviews revealed that there was great diversity among different stakeholders. protected areas and livestock farms as far as tourism was concerned. Quantitative answers showed that the number Hierarchical Stakeholders order Management objectives of visitors per year varied from 1000 to 100,000 visi- tors in protected areas and from 5000 to 150,000 visitors Protected area 1 Protect the environment per year in farms (among our sampling of interviewed managers (7 interviewees out of 7) stakeholders). To attract tourists, managers of both pro- 2 Promote tourism (7/7) 3 Enhance socio-economic tected areas and livestock farms revealed that they partly development (3/7) convert the ecosystems and adjust their main activity, 4 Increase knowledge (2/7) which was conﬁrmed by the analysis of existing man- Livestock farmers 1 Maintain the livestock agement documents for protected areas as well as ﬁeld farming activity (5/5) observations. For instance, light infrastructure (pathways, 2 Promote tourism (5/5) observatories, small bullrings, etc.) has been constructed 3 Maintain the image of at visited sites, guides have been recruited, and the areas Camargue (5/5) 4 Protect the environment (4/5) open to the public are managed in a distinct way (Table 4). Public institutions 1 Enhance socio-economic In livestock farms as well as in protected areas, tourists are development (6/6) attracted by ecosystems and by traditional activities, even 2 Represent the local if the pre-eminence of each varies (Table 4). stakeholders (6/6) Tourism was declared to be a very important activ- 3 Promote the territory (6/6) ity for public institutions to reach their socio-economic 4 Protect the lands (6/6) development objectives. Nevertheless, strategies were very Note: The number of responses out of the total number of interviewees is different between different institutions. Interviewees from represented in brackets. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 171 Table 2. Translation of the managers’ objectives in ecosystem services terms. Category of ecosystem Objectives of the structure Ecosystem services referred to services Maintain the livestock farming activity Food production Provisioning services Aesthetic appreciation and inspiration for culture, Cultural services art and design Protect the environment Habitat for species Habitat services Maintenance of genetic diversity Promote tourism Tourism Cultural services Increase knowledge Aesthetic appreciation and inspiration for culture, Cultural services art and design Maintain the image of Camargue Aesthetic appreciation and inspiration for culture, Cultural services art and design Spiritual experience and sense of place Table 3. Trade-offs and synergies between the organisations’ main objectives and the development of tourism, as expressed by all interviewed stakeholders. Stakeholders Main objective Synergies with tourism Trade-offs with tourism Protected area managers Protect the environment Raise public awareness Fauna disturbance about the environment Invasive species due to modiﬁed water management Livestock farmers Maintain livestock farming Financial support Risk of disturbing the herds Raise public awareness Less time left for the about traditions farmers to take care of the herds Public institutions Socio-economic Economic activity and development additional incomes for the local population Arles, a town located 30 km from the sea, said that the Piémanson and Beauduc, a large amount of tourists still municipality promoted ecotourism in the NRPC, whereas go there. The municipality of Arles is now in the process interviewees from the other municipalities (Saintes- of developing parking areas to avoid the access of cars to Maries-de-la-Mer, Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône) declared to the dunes. mainly develop seaside and nautical tourism. The inter- views showed that these two cities clearly prohibited 3.3 Management to maintain or restore the state of wild camping on the beaches under their jurisdiction. ecosystems If they stated that they also promoted ecotourism (Saintes- Maries-de-la-Mer) and maintained the cultural heritage We found that the sites were managed to fulﬁl the man- of the city (Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Port-Saint-Louis- agers’ main objective, and tourism and ecosystem con- du-Rhône), ﬁeld observations conﬁrmed the pre-eminent servation were adjusted accordingly. In the following two place occupied by seaside tourism. sub-sections, we ﬁrst present the link between protect- Seaside tourism was identiﬁed as the main source of ing the environment and the managers’ main objective, income by interviewees of the municipality of Saintes- and then the management measures implemented to make Maries-de-la-Mer. They stated that they proactively man- tourism compatible with the main objective. The results are age the environment and the ﬂuxes of tourists to the summarised in Figure 3: a double line symbolises a strong beaches, which was conﬁrmed by ﬁeld observations pre- convergence between the main stakeholder’s objective and sented in Table 4. Interviewees’ management documents ecosystem conservation/tourism; a single line implies a and ﬁeld observations showed that the municipality makes convergence between them; and a dotted line implies a great efforts to protect the city against coastal erosion with weak convergence between the two. sand conservation and earthworks (e.g. dykes and sand transport). Finally, the municipality of Arles declared to mainly 3.3.1 Link between ecosystem conservation and the promote nature and farm tourism in the NRPC, and this stakeholders’ main objectives was conﬁrmed by ﬁeld observations. In addition, even if it Interviews clearly revealed that ecosystem conserva- does not promote seaside tourism in the wild beaches of tion is the main objective of protected area managers 172 C. Beltrame et al. � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � Table 4. Management of ecosystems by the stakeholders to attract the public. Management of the parts Stakeholders Portrayed features Constructions Modalities of visits opened to the public Protected area managers Fauna – ﬂora (7/7) Pathways (creation 2/7; Nature guides visits (5/7) Opening modalities Landscapes (5/7) maintenance 5/7), (schedules adapted to Traditional activities (4/7) Observatories (7/7) seasons) (6/7) Water management to see avifauna (4/7) Bird feeding (1/7) Management of artiﬁcial marshes (1/7) Livestock farmers Livestock farming (5/5) Pathways (creation 2/5; Visit on towed cart (5/5) Adapt visits to livestock and Bull traditions (5/5) maintenance 3/5) Farmer guides visits (5/5) weather (2/5) Nature (5/5) Bullrings (4/5) Management of the herds to Observatories (1/5) have enough bulls for tourist activities (5/5) Maintenance of extensive pasture in large semi-natural habitats, to stick to the traditional image of large open spaces (5/5) Public institutions in Beaches and sea (4/4) Heavy earthworks to protect the Areas reserved for sports Prohibition of wild camping Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and Traditional image of the village and maintain sand on the (2/4) (4/4) Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône Camargue (4/4) beaches (2/4) Distribution of farms and Watching stations (4/4) Nature (2/4) Pay park (4/4) protected areas addresses at Active guarding (2/4) Municipal water (2/4) tourist ofﬁce (2/4) Struggle against beach Electricity network (2/4) erosion: sand deposit, dykes, rip-raps(2/4) Public institutions in Nature (2/2) Trail maintenance (2/2) Distribution of farms and Watching stations (2/2) Arles Farms (2/2) Point of water access (2/2) nature reserves addresses at Active guarding announced tourist ofﬁce (ofﬁcial (awareness raising) (2/2) partnership with a protected area) (2/2) Notes: Numbers shown in parentheses refer to the number of references out of the total number of interviewees. When interviewing members of public institutions, the strategies were so contrasted between Arles on one side and Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône on the other side that they are presented here separately. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 173 (A) Protected areas (B) Livestock farmers (C) Public institutions managers Figure 3. Relationship between the stakeholders’ main objective and ecosystem conservation/tourism, for: (A) protected areas man- agers, (B) livestock farmers and (C) public institutions. A double line means ‘is equal to’; a simple line corresponds to ‘a relationship clearly described by the stakeholders’; and a dotted line corresponds to ‘an existing relationship not identiﬁed by the stakeholders’. (see Figure 3). For livestock farmers, conservation was 3.3.2 Measures to manage tourism regarding compatible with, and even necessary for, their main activ- stakeholders’ main objectives ity; namely, extensive livestock farming. As they know We also investigated the management measures taken in that tourists are attracted by extensive pasture in large order to make tourism compatible with the stakeholders’ semi-natural habitats, they promote this kind of farming. main objectives. For managers of protected areas, making As far as public institutions are concerned, they declared tourism compatible with conservation of the environment that their main objective is socio-economic development, was said to be a major issue. Only a part of the protected mainly with the development of tourism: ecotourism in area is accessible to a restricted number of tourists. In addi- the NRPC inland for Arles and seaside tourism for tion, they can only follow existing paths and access spe- Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône ciﬁc sites, thus restricting their impact on the ecosystems (Figure 3). Analyses of declared management practices, (Table 5), by reducing trampling and fauna disturbance. existing management documents and ﬁeld observations Livestock farmers referred to tourism as a complementary showed contrasting strategies to mitigate coastal erosion, activity, which they managed to protect their primary con- one of the main issues in the area. The municipality of cern: the pastures and the grazing that takes place upon Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer carries out huge earthworks to them. They indicated that they manage both the estates maintain the sand, without any concern for the conserva- themselves, and the visitors to them (Table 5). Paths have tion of the beach ecosystem, or in the way the works are been created along pastures in some parts of the estates, conducted. On the other hand, Arles, located 30 km from and a restricted number of visitors can access the site only the sea, does not try to maintain the beaches of Piémanson, during guided visits, taking care to not disturb the herds, letting the ecosystem evolve naturally. nor degrade the pastures. Finally, since the public insti- Management strategies were also found to be contrast- tutions’ main objective was declared to be tourism itself, ing regarding another major environmental issue; namely, all their management measures are related to tourism, the damage done to beaches and dunes and the dis- and they do not necessarily develop measures regarding turbance of the fauna due to overcrowding and wild environmental conservation. camping. Interviews and ﬁeld observations revealed that Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône have actions in place to control the ﬂow of visitors, by 4. Discussion prohibiting wild camping and building pay parks. Field 4.1 Links between ecosystem services and ecosystems observations showed that the work carried out is impacting in the NRPC greatly upon the ecosystems, as pay parks have been con- The ES framework, as presented in Figure 1, is inter- structed on wetlands. Regarding the beaches of Piémanson esting mainly because it disentangles land management and Beauduc, the interviewees stated that, after years of tol- practices in two types: the ones using the ecosystems erating the presence of wild camping, the municipality of and the ones maintaining or even restoring the ecosys- Arles lately attempts to regulate the use of these beaches, tem. Thus, it allows us to observe and analyse the efforts by avoiding car access on natural areas and limiting wild dedicated to each types. This study has explored the rela- camping. The implementation of these new measures is tionships between tourism, other ESs like food production, difﬁcult due to the users’ resistance. They also highlighted and ecosystem conservation in the NRPC. It has underlined actions performed to limit pollution (e.g. by removing trash the synergies and discrepancies between uses and conser- and adding tanks to collect waste water from chemical vation, as well as the differences amongst those various toilets), limit physical damages due to vehicles (setting uses. up parking sites), and restore the dunes. However, ﬁeld The results showed that the stakeholders in charge of observations showed high levels of uncontrolled activity protected areas or livestock farms manage the ecosystems impacting upon the sensitive dune ecosystems. 174 C. Beltrame et al. Table 5. Main management measures followed in order to make tourism compatible with the main objective of the organisations. Stakeholders Visitors management Land management Protected area managers � Carrying capacity: limitation of the number of visitors (5/7) � Zoning: only part of the protected � Visit regulation (visit timing, visit periods in respect to life area is opened to visitors (7/7) of fauna and breeding periods) (7/7) � Restricting the public: creation of � Control: active guarding (7/7) pathways and observatories (7/7) Livestock farmers � Zoning: only part of the livestock � Adapt visits to livestock in order not to disturb it (2/5) farming land is opened to � Adapt visits to weather in order to avoid degradation of the visitors (5/5) pastures (2/5) � Guided visits only (5/5) � Carrying capacity: limitation of the size of the group of visitors (4/5) Note: Numbers shown in parentheses refer to the number of references out of the total number of interviewees. on their lands, primarily to maintain their respective 4.2 Intensive versus extensive use of an ecosystem main activities. Subsequently, ecosystem conservation is service ensured when the main activity promoted on the land This study has highlighted differences in the intensity directly depends upon the quality of the ecosystem (natural of ecosystem use for tourism. When the use of one ES areas and pastures). The effects of livestock grazing is very intensive, as for beach tourism, there is neither (provisioning service) have proved to be positive as long maintenance nor restoration of the ecosystem. Conversely, as it remains extensive (Boulot 1991; Poulin et al. 2009). when tourism is restricted in time or in space, there is A great feeling of responsibility and attachment to the land a possibility to have a bundle of ESs on a particular was also expressed by the stakeholders directly in charge of territory, as well as the maintenance or restoration of protected areas or farms. The proximity of the stakeholder certain ecosystems. An extensive use of one ES allows a to the ﬁeld is thus essential, with effective relationships to greater diversity of services in a certain territory because the natural or cultural heritage. of trade-offs amongst services (Raudsepp-Hearne et al. Nevertheless, this framework also made it possible to 2010). Indeed, stakeholders developed tourism activity highlight management failures from a conservation point on farms and in protected areas, but they highly regulate of view, in other parts of the NRPC. Discrepancies between access for tourists both in time and space on their estates. actions carried out for the use of ecosystems, versus those The resulting tourist activity is thus either extensive across for their conservation, were clear and have resulted in an entire estate or intensive in very restricted areas of the some bad management practices from the point of view estate. These regulations are empirically deﬁned in some of the latter. This is especially the case for the beaches protected areas and farms of the NRPC. Deﬁning such a of the region. Half of all tourists come to the NRPC for carrying capacity to limit the number of tourists entering its seaside areas (cultural service). However, it was dif- a socio-ecosystem is very difﬁcult but is central to allow ﬁcult to identify which stakeholder was responsible for its maintenance (Lopez-Spinosa de los Monteros, 2002; the coastal ecosystem, since the responsibilities regard- Castellani et al. 2007). ing beaches seem to be dispersed. The municipality of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer exploits its beaches very inten- sively. To do so, and given the fact that these beaches are 4.3 Absence of regulating services in the analysis disappearing due to broader-scale natural processes (NRPC Although the ES approach provides insights into manage- 2009), the local authority puts a huge amount of effort into ment practices and the balance between use and restora- preserving their sand. In comparison, they do very little to tion of the ecosystems in the NRPC, it does not allow conserve the functionalities of the beach ecosystem and the researchers to work on ESs whose uses have not been associated dunes and wetlands, despite their high conser- shown in this study. In particular, regulating services are vation value (priority natural habitat type for the European under-represented (Table 2), unlike provisioning, habitat Community). and cultural services. A striking example of a group of On one side, livestock farmers and protected area man- regulating services that was not referred to in this study are agers have the stewardship for managing the land (whether those services geared towards the moderation of extreme they own it or not), whereas on the other side, public insti- natural events; in particular, the ﬂood protection service. tutions do not clearly assign land management to ﬁeld The managers did not refer to this despite ﬂooding hav- managers. These two contrasting situations argue that the ing been a major issue in the NRPC for a long time presence of stewards in the ﬁeld is crucial to successfully (Picon 2008) and despite wetlands being well known for manage trade-offs between the use of ecosystem services their buffering capacity (Harrison et al. 2010; Posthumus and biodiversity conservation. et al. 2010). Similar results have been reported in other International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 175 studies. For instance, using public participation to map revealed contrasting management objectives and practices ecosystem services, Brown et al. (2012) found that cul- surrounding the use of ecosystem services in the NRPC. tural and provisioning service opportunities were easiest We have described the various strategies that exist on a to identify, while habitat and regulating services were most spectrum from strict use without conservation at one end challenging. to more balanced practices at the other. Our work has This unbalanced representation of ES in the improved knowledge on the ways conservation is or is not stakeholders’ answers can be explained by three main taken into account in land management and therefore about reasons. First, the ES concept remains largely unknown to the sustainability of ES uses in the NRPC. Here, we have local stakeholders. Within the NRPC, the stakeholders that assessed whether or not sustainability is a matter of inter- were aware of the concept were protected area managers, est for land managers by observing the balance between who are actively involved in conservation programmes. consumption and conservation. We also discussed the scale Second, some uses are more easily translated than others at which ESs are intuitively managed and stewarded by by researchers in terms of ESs, mainly those corre- stakeholders. Provisioning services, tourism service and sponding to provisioning, habitat and cultural services biodiversity conservation appeared to be managed at the (mainly tourism). However, regulating services do not local scale. Protected area managers and livestock farmers correspond to classical, well-identiﬁed uses. They are intuitively understand and refer to the balance between the relatively intangible in terms of direct economic beneﬁts use of ecosystem and its maintenance. Nevertheless, the and awareness is still to be developed in terms of their lack of management regarding regulation services show- importance for local users. They are often recognised cases the fact that local stewardship is not enough to when they disappear and can no longer play their role (e.g. manage all ESs. In this case, there is a need for public insti- the disappearance of pollinators). The third reason is that tutions that are responsible and will manage the land at a the scale of the study may not be appropriate for the man- larger scale. agement of some regulating services. Our study was local, The ES concept is intended to support the develop- concerning three municipalities at the mouth of the Rhône ment of sustainable policies and the improvement of land River. Regulating services, such as the aforementioned management (Seppelt et al. 2011). Stakeholders do not protection against ﬂoods, may be more relevant at the scale refer to the ES concept to describe their practices. The of the whole watershed. Indeed, it is taken into account next step would therefore be to verify whether they would at such a level under ‘Plan Rhône’ (Direction Régionale, be able to improve land management, i.e. both ecosystem de l’Environmnement de l’Aménagement et du Logement maintenance and ES uses, if they were aware of the ES 2009), which outlines a plan for ﬂood prevention along concept. This is a major issue to bridge the ‘implemen- the river under the framework of sustainable development. tation gap’ of the ES framework (Cook & Spray 2012). Even if engineering and earthworks are still the dominant To address such a question, we would need to replicate this approach, restoration and the use of ﬂood plains during study after introducing the ES concept to land managers. periods of high river discharge are also listed as actions. This could be done in a following study focusing on the Regulating services are the beneﬁts people obtain from NRPC. ecosystems that are hidden in socio-economic studies, out- Finally, from an epistemological point of view, the ES side of environmental economics. Conversely, services that concept was created to integrate ecological costs derived could be described as making use of ecosystems in the from economic growth in terms of unsustainable use more classical sense, such as provisioning services or (pollution, for instance) (Gomez-Baggethun et al. 2010). tourism, and their condition of sustainable consumption, Therefore the notion of sustainability is central for ES stud- have already been taken into account in studies of natural ies. ES is a wide concept encompassing both the supply of resources or land management (e.g. Cuzack & Dixon 2006 services by ecosystems and their demand and consumption for tourism and forests). The idea to manage regulating by society. Here, we did not quantify the level of sustain- services in a sustainable way has been seen by conserva- ability or over-exploitation, such as the number of visitors tionists as advantageous when arguing for the protection tolerated in an area to avoid fauna and ﬂora disturbance of ecosystems that until that point had not been considered (Tallis et al. 2008; Kenward et al. 2011). However, we for such attention. They have been presented as the levers believe that the question of sustainability of ES use has for new actions (MA 2005), and failure by stakeholders to to be central if researchers want this concept to be useful take such services into account when managing their lands for enhancing conservation in land management. In the lit- is likely a major ﬂaw. erature, on methodologies for conducting ES assessment, this is at the heart of the paradigm (e.g. de Groot et al. et al. 2010), or it is set as a main target in recent blueprints (Seppelt et al. 2012). 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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management – Taylor & Francis
Published: Jun 1, 2013
Keywords: ecosystem services; local management; tourism; biodiversity conservation; wetland; Camargue
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