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Environments 2017, 4(4), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments4040095

System-Based Assessments—Improving the Confidence in the EIA Process

1
Marine Environmental Sciences, UPMC-UMR 8222 LECOB, 66650 Banyuls sur Mer, France
2
Department of Marine Biology, University of Ghent, B-9000 Gent, Belgium
3
Laboratoire des sciences de l’environnement marin—IUEM—Rue Dumont D’Urville, Université de Bretagne Occidentale—UMR 6539 CNRS/UBO/IRD/Ifremer, 29280 Plouzané, France
4
Laboratoire des sciences de l’environnement marin—IUEM—Rue Dumont D’Urville, CNRS—UMR 6539 CNRS/UBO/IRD/Ifremer, 29280 Plouzané, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 November 2017 / Revised: 8 December 2017 / Accepted: 12 December 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact Assessment)
Full-Text   |   PDF [644 KB, uploaded 18 December 2017]   |  

Abstract

This viewpoint article examines Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) practices in developed and transitioning nations, identifies weaknesses, and proposes a new quantitative approach. The literature indicates that there exists little to no standardization in EIA practice, transitioning nations rely on weak scientific impact analyses, and the establishment of baseline conditions is generally missing. The more fundamental issue is that the “receptor”-based approach leads to a qualitative and subjective EIA, as it does not adequately integrate the full measure of the complexity of ecosystems, ongoing project risks, and cumulative impacts. We propose the application of a new framework that aims to ensure full life cycle assessment of impacts applicable to any EIA process, within any jurisdictional context. System-Based EIA (SBEIA) is based on modeling to predict changes and rests on data analysis with a statistically rigorous approach to assess impacts. This global approach uses technologies and methodologies that are typically applied to characterize ecosystem structure and functioning, including remote sensing, modeling, and in situ monitoring. The aim of this approach is to provide a method that can produce quantifiable reproducible values of impact and risk and move EIA towards its substantive goal of sustainable development. The adoption of this approach would provide a better evaluation of economic costs and benefits for all stakeholders. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental impact assessment; ecosystem modeling; hydrodynamic modeling; baseline survey; ecosystem-based environmental assessment; environmental sensing technology environmental impact assessment; ecosystem modeling; hydrodynamic modeling; baseline survey; ecosystem-based environmental assessment; environmental sensing technology
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Wilson, J.; Hinz, S.; Coston-Guarini, J.; Mazé, C.; Guarini, J.-M.; Chauvaud, L. System-Based Assessments—Improving the Confidence in the EIA Process. Environments 2017, 4, 95.

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