Appel à projets franco-québécois dans le secteur maritime - Appel à projets franco-québécois dans le secteur maritime

Supporting a sustainable development of coastal & maritime regions through a novel assessment framework integrating ecosystem services with a territorial and life cycle perspectives – Cost to Coast

Cost to Coast [C2C]

Sustainable marine and costal management following an integrated approach combining the assessment of ecosystem services on a territorial scale under a lifecycle perspective.

Cost to Coast Specific objectives

e ecosystems formed by estuaries and coastal areas are essential for the maintenance and development of human activities by providing a mix of Ecosystem Services (ES). These ecosystems are under increasing anthropogenic pressures linked to the coexistence of multiple uses in limited spaces, with increasing urbanization, an increase in maritime transport, an overexploitation of aquatic resources, or the diversification of recreational and tourist activities. <br />The tools available to support and guide decision-making for sustainable management of these territories do not allow the impacts of human activities on ES to be properly integrated, in particular those that offer an integrated, holistic and coherent perspective, such as the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). <br />The Cost to coast project aims to fill these gaps and develop the missing elements in order to be able to assess the sustainability of a coastal maritime development project at the territorial level, while avoiding the transfer of impacts, following a life cycle perspective.

Cost to coast is organized around four interconnected research components, which will make it possible to:
1. create an integrated conceptual framework, based on a scientific state-of-the-art, for the evaluation of ES, consistent with a territorial LCA perspective
2. develop a methodology to identify and assess the mix of ES, consistent with the biophysical properties of the coastal zones and the perceptions of stakeholders
3. develop indicators for life cycle impact assessment to assess the resulting positive and negative impacts (integrated into the IMPACT World + method)
4. apply the methodology and indicators developed in two case studies, in close interaction with stakeholders in the field, i.e., the Thau Lagoon in France, around the Mediterranean, and the estuary of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec , with an emphasis on Lake Saint-Pierre.




Estuarine and coastal ecosystems are essential for human activities, as they provide a wide variety of ecosystem services (ES). However, they are subject to increasing anthropogenic pressures incurred by coastal development, marine traffic, overexploitation of aquatic resources and diversification of tourism and recreational use. Accounting for these human-ecosystems interactions in land planning projects, in a comprehensive, holistic and integrated way, is still a challenge in decision-making. The “Cost to coast” research project aims at filling in the existing gaps in this integration and providing the missing elements that prevent the sustainable development of coastal/estuary territories, by using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology and tools.

“Cost to coast” project is divided into four inter-related research activities that will allow reaching four objectives. First, it aims at proposing a harmonized conceptual framework for the consistent assessment of ES at a territorial scale throughout a life cycle perspective. Second, it will develop a methodology to identify the “basket” of ES relevant to estuarine and coastal areas, which are shared by different stakeholders at a territorial scale (e.g. maritime freight and port activities, fishing, recreational-tourism, high value conservation area), by applying the conceptual framework initially developed. Third, it will create a new set of indicators to be applied in quantitative life cycle impact assessment methods (e.g. readily available to LCA practitioners for use within IMPACT World+), in order to quantify the potential loss/gain of aquatic ES (i.e. from coastal and sea use), in compliance with the conceptual framework developed. Finally, this project aims at applying the developed methodologies and set of indicators to characterize the human impacts on ES. The operationalization will be conducted on two case studies, i.e. the Thau lagoon, on the Mediterranean Sea coast, in France; and the St. Lawrence estuary, in Quebec (Canada) with a specific focus on the Lac Saint-Pierre. These two territories have different sets of ES, though the direct provision of resources with the presence of aquaculture, fishing and shellfish farming activities; as well as indirectly, through cultural services, such as those linked with recreation and cultural activities.

The project is scheduled for 3 years and it combines the expertise of six different research teams from Québec and France, as an evidence of its multi- and inter-disciplinary character. The researchers and graduate students are involved in various fields of research and development, such as LCA (system analysis, impact assessment methodology development, LCA operationalization), ES quantification and valuation, marine ecology and biology, geography and economics. The project will deliver high qualification staff (4 PhD, 1 Postdoc and 3 MSc students), scientific papers and communications.
Lastly, the “Cost to coast” project pays attention to serving and better informing the decision-making process. For that, tools, documentation, and other project deliverables will be made available to territorial stakeholders and to the lay public, in simple wording and, at the same time, to the LCA community (i.e., practitioners and researchers) in order to ease and sustain its use.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Arnaud HELIAS (INRAE Centre Occitanie-Montpellier)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


MARBEC Centre pour la biodiversité marine, l'exploitation et la conservation
SDAR – Agro Valo Méditérrannée INRAE Centre Occitanie-Montpellier
Polytechnique Montréal
CEE-M Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement
UQO Université du Québec en Outaouais
UQAM Université du Québec à Montréal

Help of the ANR 308,237 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: May 2020 - 36 Months

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