A tool for taking into account the services that nature provides to humanity in the evaluation of a project, to contribute to the economic development of regions, and to protect biodiversity.
Armed with its environmental and engineering experience, Egis has invested the field of environmental economics to offer its customers – be they policy makers or private companies – a range of services with a dual objective: to contribute to the economic development of regions, and to protect biodiversity. Though this may appear to be a contradiction in terms, taking into account both of these issues can actually add value to a region.
After four years of research, in partnership with the LAMETA4 and substantial investment in R&D, Egis now boasts an operational tool – the “Aulnes” method and toolkit. It was completed in September 2014.
Alexis BONNEL, Environment and Development Adviser at the French Development Agency (AFD) and member of the Egis sustainable development steering committee. In developing countries, natural resources are a key economic driver. We have identified several challenges in the AFD’s biodiversity activities that the AULNES® solution could help with, in addition to the indicators already used.
The tool is used to:
- map the services provided by nature “free of charge” to the human community in a given area
- evaluate any variations to these services as a consequence of the implementation of a project (industrial, infrastructure); of changes in agricultural and forestry practices; and of management practices in natural areas.
The benefits that humanity derives from nature are divided into four categories:
- Provision services: raw materials (food, fibre, fresh water, pharmaceuticals)
- Regulation services: climate regulation (carbon cycle, water cycle, biological control, pollination, water retention, soil penetration, runoff limitation).
- Support services (self-maintenance): soil formation, primary production.
- Cultural services: recreation and tourism (parks, forests, ponds, etc.), culture and education (local heritage, environmental education, etc).
 Montpellier Laboratory of Applied and Theoretical Economics