An example to be followed by the Congo Basin? - Working towards NNL of Biodiversity and Beyond Ambatovy, Madagascar – A Case Study (2014)

 

...The present document focuses on technical aspects (i.e., Steps 5-7) of this process, specifi cally on the choice of methods to quantify biodiversity losses and gains and initial calculations undertaken for forests affected at the mine site and upper pipeline. More detailed assessment that includes aquatic biodiversity and priority species is still underway...

 

Please donwload the Document:  Working towards NNL of Biodiversity and Beyond Ambatovy, Madagascar – A Case Study (2014)

 

Extract - Executive Summary

 

...The company’s biodiversity management strategy is based on application of the mitigation hierarchy with an objective of no net loss (NNL), or preferably a net gain (NG), of biodiversity. In this regard, Ambatovy  rimarily follows two standards – the Biodiversity Offset Standard (BBOP, 2012) and the IFC Performance Standards on Environmental & Social Sustainability (IFC, 2012). Both standards require adherence to the fi rst three steps of the mitigation hierarchy  avoidance, minimisation, restoration of impacts) before considering the implementation of offsets to compensate for any residual loss of biodiversity. Offsets are then designed and implemented in accordance with the principles of the Biodiversity Offset Standard...

 

Avoidance measures were primarily defi ned at the project design stage, including keeping the footprint area to an absolute minimum for mine operations, establishing two azonal forest set-asides of 306 ha overlying the ore body, constructing sediment dams to avoid impacts in downstream water catchments, routing the pipeline to avoid sensitive areas such as forest fragments and locating the processing plant on degraded coastal lands rather than close to the mine. 

Minimisation measures are based around a paced, directional forest-clearing process, whereby forest clearance is conducted by lots in a planned manner, using labour-intensive non-mechanised methods, clearing slowly out from the center to the footprint periphery, thereby allowing the more mobile wildlife to escape into the surrounding 3,500 ha of conservation forests which have been secured by Ambatovy through a 50-year surface lease. Minimisation for each forest lot follows a coordinated process in three phases - pre-clearing, clearing, and post clearing. Prior to clearing, inventories of fl ora and fauna are conducted, plant species of concern are fl agged for salvage while trees with nesting birds or mammals are marked for preservation until fl edging or rescue. A mitigation plan is developed by the environmental and operations teams. During clearing, the salvage and rescue of priority species of plants (known as ‘Species of Concern’ or SOCs, including all orchids), mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians is undertaken. Following clearing and grubbing, timber is removed for distribution to local communities, brushwood is collected for mulching and top soil is removed and stored for restoration purposes. Ambatovy is committed to the restoration of the mine site, using a continuous restoration approach starting in 2015. The restoration vision as originally formulated was to generate, over 35 years, multiple-use replacement forests coherent with the surrounding forest matrix. The ambition is to make restoration contribute explicitly to the goal of no net biodiversity loss, particularly by aiming to restore critical ecological values (e.g., populations of endangered species) where feasible and maintaining the values and functions of ecosystem services affected by the project. Trials are being conducted to assess a variety of restoration methods. Saplings are grown in production nurseries, while rare and recalcitrant species are being grown from tissue culture in a laboratory at the University of Antananarivo. To compensate for the operation’s residual losses of biodiversity, Ambatovy has developed a multi-faceted offset programme. In this, the company has been guided by the materials and tools published by BBOP, as well as by processes such as regular compliance audits conducted by third-party experts who report to the lenders.

 

Ambatovy is in the process of completing its offset design, while implementation of offset activities is already underway at a suite of sites. In the case of Ambatovy, ‘averted loss’ offsetting aimed at protecting biodiversity that would otherwise be lost, is widely regarded by stakeholders as the most suitable mechanism. This is supported by high observed levels of deforestation in Madagascar and in the context of exceptionally limited funding for existing Protected Areas and large forest areas identifi ed for protection across the country as part of the ‘Durban Vision’ but without funding committed to implement this expanded Protected Area network.

 

Key steps in offset design included:

 

1. Reviewing the development project’s scope and activities

2. Reviewing the legal framework and/or policy context for a biodiversity offset

3. Initiating the stakeholder participation process

4. Determining the need for and feasibility of an offset based on residual impacts on biodiversity

5. Choosing methods to calculate loss/gain and quantifying residual losses

6. Reviewing potential offset locations and activities and assessing the biodiversity gains which could be achieved at each

7. Calculating offset gains and selecting appropriate offset locations and activities

8. Recording the offset design and entering the offset implementation process.

 

The present document focuses on technical aspects (i.e., Steps 5-7) of this process, specifi cally on the choice of methods to quantify biodiversity losses and gains and initial calculations undertaken for forests affected at the mine site and upper pipeline. More detailed assessment that includes aquatic biodiversity and priority species is still underway.

 

Please donwload the Document:  Working towards NNL of Biodiversity and Beyond Ambatovy, Madagascar – A Case Study (2014)

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