Lessons learned

Climate change perception

The Conservatoire and the National Trust revealed that generally our societies (at its different levels), and mostly the local communities, are not awared about the potential risks of the climate change (except in case of “natural catastrophe” like the Xynthia storm impacts on the atlantic coast of France in 2010…) and a lack of comprehension about this phenomenon. In Netherlands, people are more “sensitized” about this phenomenon (as probably this country is one of the most threatened by the sea level rise…). The biggest challenge for the organizations is the changing of perceptions of local communities on the inevitability of the effects of coastal change and the acceptance of change (ex: buffering zones, realignment strategy…).

The Bay of Veys

(Photo: Celine Damery, CdL)

Participantsí reaction

In France, the “loi Littoral” is one of the tools for the protection of the coasts. Such a tool does not exist in the UK or in the Netherlands. A European law for the protection of the coasts, integrating the climate change factor and envisaging a long term approach, would be a relevant tool for the whole European countries. (Céline Damery & Julie Pagny)

The LiCCo project seems to be successful at being proactive in consulting with a wide range of stakeholders. The Conservatoire du Littoral has been involved in the BRANCH project which has looked at the current envelopes of space used by species to predict where they could occur as climate changes.
(Tony Tutton, Andrew Brockbank, Craig McCoy, Janet Lister, National Trust, United Kingdom)

Necessity to use adapted communication strategy

Participantsí reaction

“Communication about coastal change can be very effective when we are able to show pictures of dramatic change through time; e.g. the position of German gun emplacements at Val de Saire in the 1940’s compared with present day.” (Tony Tutton, Andrew Brockbank, Craig McCoy, Janet Lister, National Trust, United Kingdom)

“Site managers are the best ambassadors of our message with local people. Future scenarios and photographic evidence of change work well to make communities think about their how their coast will change.” (Angela Peters, Property ecologist, and Elli MacDonald, LiCCo Project Officer, National Trust, United Kingdom)

"The LiCCo project seems to be successful at being proactive in consulting with a wide range of stakeholders. The Conservatoire du Littoral has been involved in the BRANCH project which has looked at the current envelopes of space used by species to predict where they could occur as climate changes." (Tony Tutton, Andrew Brockbank, Craig McCoy, Janet Lister, National Trust, United Kingdom)

Data collection and predictions

A photo-monitoring (from land or by aerial view) or a cartography constitute one of the most useful tool to visualize the evolution of the coastline and the shifting of coastal habitats, and is very useful to catch the attention of the various public (site users, elected people, …).
The modelization based on the increasing of average sea level tide (former data and extrapolation for the future figures) are not sufficient to predict the evolution of the coastline, as the frequency and the intensity of extreme natural events are not taken into account.

Participantsí reaction

“With the bunkers as a benchmark, it can clearly be seen how the erosion progressed during the last five years. Surprisingly, the situation seems to have been stable before then. Is this due to climate change?” (Hans-Peter Westerbeek and Quirin Smeele, Program managers Natuurmonumenten, Netherlands)

Long-term and integrated approach

The participants were surprised about how the Conservatoire works to have an integrated management of its sites facing climate change, not only considering the sea-land interface, but also integrating the potential impacts on the uses in-land.

The long-term strategy promoted by the Conservatoire (trying to buy today the lands which will be the future sea-shores in few decades) seems not be replicable in UK and Netherlands, partly for financial reasons.

The strategy for coastal change adopted by the Conservatoire de Littoral have many similarities to the National Trust Coastal Risk Assessment approach.

Another remark concerned the fact that the Conservatoire try to work on “project territories” at a large scale, contrary to National Trust and Natuurmonumenten, which work on smaller one.

Participantsí reaction

“The experience of the Conservatoire du Littoral demonstrates the benefits of consistent long term strategy with active dialogue with the communities about adaptive options. Early dialogue may not always yield immediate agreement to implement changes, though the dialogue creates clearer understanding of the issues. […] Adaptations are most useful when anticipated rather than reactive.” (Andrew Brockbank, Countryside Manager, National Trust, United Kingdom)

European and national laws

It is necessary to integrate the climate change factor into the European and national laws.

Participantsí reaction

"In France, the “loi Littoral” is one of the tools for the protection of the coasts. Such a tool does not exist in the UK or in the Netherlands. A European law for the protection of the coasts, integrating the climate change factor and envisaging a long term approach, would be a relevant tool for the whole European countries." (Céline Damery et Julie Pagny, Conservatoire du littoral)

The National Trust evoked the problem of integration of European directives in the national law and a lack of harmonization between the European countries. It would be very interesting to wonder about how other countries live and translate EU law, particularly in relationship with to the issue of habitat. There are certainly different interpretations of EU directives.

The site managers are embarrassed facing the N2000 “rigidity”, which not allow a dynamic system (evolution of the habitats as an impact of climate change).The example of the Val de Saire shows that if a habitat disappears later due to natural phenomena, another one will replace it. So that is to say : is that really a problem? Why maintaining the first habitat at all costs?

The project was funded from a Leonardo da Vinci grant.