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5.6.12 Parc Naturel Régional du Golfe du Morbihan: Scenarios experience sharing

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Advantages and disadvantages

Used this way, scenarios were a real aid to develop a common culture and to create and share a global vision combining stakeholders’ points of views as a way of supporting helpful reflection on an issue or even decision-making.

Scenarios are participatory tools that are very useful in exploring and discovering new management approaches with stakeholders. They are a good way of creating and supporting discussion. In the Golfe du Morbihan, we have decided to develop exploratory scenarios as a way to illustrate different possible situations in the future and to compare them.

The aim was to deliberately create some distance from our actual management method and see if we could do it differently to improve the seagrass beds situation.

The process of scenario building was also useful to strengthen stakeholders’ involvement.

Nevertheless, it also appeared also difficult for them to feel free to speak on the limits of the actual management frameworks for many reasons. For example, because:

  • They did not understand the seagrass beds before the VALMER project
  • There are uncertainties linked to the lack of knowledge and data on the level of ecosystem services offered by the seagrass beds of the gulf; the nature of interactions between seagrass beds and human activities; the links between pressures and impacts.
  • It was difficult to criticize the actual management plan
  • They sometimes had difficulties speaking in public
  • They feared that their proposals could disadvantage their activity in the future and be a reproached by other users.

 

Difficulties encountered

The major difficulty encountered in the Golfe du Morbihan during the VALMER project was that seagrass beds were unknown to the majority of stakeholders. We have discovered that paradoxically these habitats recognized for their importance for marine life, protected by different international conventions, European Directives and laws were also a mystery for the majority of inhabitants of the Golfe du Morbihan.

Another difficulty was that seagrass beds offer many benefits to human activities. However, these benefits are very general (e.g. raising biodiversity; improving sedimentation and water clarity etc.).

In parallel, seagrass beds are subject to many pressures so it was sometimes difficult to engage stakeholders on the question of their management because they were not directly concerned as sea users but indirectly as people.

The uncertainties listed above also presented a difficulty in comparing the different scenarios. Sometimes this was because it was not possible to explain clearly the effects of possible actions taken to preserve seagrass beds on the level of their ecosystem services. On the other hand, the scenario exercises were useful in identifying these uncertainties.

Many lessons were learned during the project:

  • Dwarf eelgrass and eelgrass have different ecologies and must be managed differently
  • Diversity of interactions between seagrass bed ecology and human activities even if they are not perceived
  • Many fears existed with sea users in that they saw their activity might be forbidden in order to preserve seagrass beds despite their general willingness to protect them



Tips

  • Set out the project aims clearly
  • Explain these aims, the approach and the methods used very clearly to the stakeholders
  • Create confidence between stakeholders through transparency and open discussions
  • Rely on existing networks to share and disseminate knowledge and data    

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