The ecosystem services are defined as goods and services provided by biodiversity and ecosystems, with or without the support of human activity, to improve the welfare of humanity.
They therefore represent the contribution of ecosystems to human well-being and are generally divided into three categories:
- Production services: all goods produced by ecosystems and their biodiversity: food (cereals, fruits, vegetables, etc), materials (wood, wool, leather, etc.), energy (firewood, biodiesel, etc) and water;
- Regulation services: ecosystem regulation phenomena: control of extreme events (erosion, floods, storms, etc), control of biological processes (pollination, biological control, seed dispersal, etc), regulation of water, air and soil pollution and climate regulation;
- Cultural services: cultural practice of opportunities permitted by ecosystems: from everyday life or for leisure (walks, hunting or recreational fishing, kayaking, etc), sources of knowledge and experience (scientific research or educational activities, etc) and sources of inspiration and values (natural, artistic inspiration, nature photography, etc).
The ecosystem services provided by the quarries and especially by their green infrastructures will be assessed at the beginning and at the end of the project (for phase I sites, the first monitoring of services is expected in year 3). The initial evaluation will guide the development of temporary and permanent nature, to maximise their services. The final evaluation will assess the real impact of these adjustments on the provision of services.
Furthermore, this ecosystem services approach, by wanting to be systemic and holistic, attempts to balance the different individual and collective social, environmental and economic challenges. This approach is complementary to that one involving the conservation of biodiversity by providing a way of interpreting the territory focused on on the actors and the satisfaction of their needs during interactions with contributing ecosystems.
However, this approach may have several derivatives such as the monetisation of nature. This is why the evaluation of ecosystem services will be integrated to take into account the diversity of service-related values. These services will be evaluated by biophysical learning about the offer of the services. However, they will be assessed through participatory methods including all the actors interacting with quarries (farmers, hunters, foresters, hikers, cyclists, residents, etc) to define the perception of these stakeholders vis-à-vis these services and their demand.