Terracon Ecotech Pvt. Ltd. carried out India’s first ever City Biodiversity Index and Local Biodiversity Strategy & Action Plan for Thane Municipal Corporation. The City Biodiversity Index is just such a tool, developed by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in collaboration with the National Parks’ Board, Singapore (NParks) and a host of international collaborators. The CBI serves as a self-assessment tool for cities to benchmark and monitor the progress of their biodiversity conservation efforts against their own individual baselines. CBI consists of 23 indicators grouped in 3 broad components viz. native biodiversity, ecosystem services and governance and management. Thane city scores a good score in native biodiversity component due to presence of various ecological features in the city. The focus of the city should be on governance and management was the main outcome of the study
The Local Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan or LBSAP is a tool that enables the implementation of the CBD and the Aichi targets in alignment with the Millennium Development Goal number 7 that advocates for ensuring environmental sustainability and National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan (NBSAP). LBSAP primarily is a document that spell out the strategies and action plan for preservation of the green (that also contains the blue infrastructure – the water bodies like rivers, lakes, ponds, creeks, wetlands) infrastructure ( hubs and corridors, sacred groves, open spaces, parks, farm lands) or land conservation as well as its integration with the grey infrastructure that is the built infrastructure. Various plans for conservation of biodiversity of Thane city are suggested in the LBSAP viz. creation of biodiversity corridors, mangrove management, capacity building and awareness, road verge plantation, urban greenbelt development, wetland management and ecorestoration of degraded lands.
With buildings replacing most of the green spaces in cities, tree transplantation is the need of the hour. Various factors necessitate transplantation of trees. Tree transplantation and preservation is a complex procedure, requiring very specialized skills and techniques. Saving mature specimen trees is of great value from aesthetics, instant gratification and environmental impact standpoints. Terracon Ecotech Pvt. Ltd. undertook a Tree Transplantation project for Rustomjee in Mumbai. Well drained sites were selected before transplanting; making sure the transplanted tree would receive the right amount of sunlight and nutrition from the soil to thrive. Adequate care was taken while trimming, scaffolding and removal of the trees , transporting it to the new site and setting the root ball very carefully at its new site. Appropriate after care measures were then taken make sure the trees have the highest survival rate possible.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a proposed shipbuilding yard at Dabhol, Maharashtra was conducted for the JSW Group. Under the Environment protection Act of 1991 and EIA notification of 14th September 2006, the proposed project was required to have Environmental clearance from the state CRZ committee (according to CRZ Notification 1991). A descriptive baseline study was covered within a 10 km radius of the project area, which included different ecosystems, the aquatic flora and fauna as well as plant species were assessed and surveyed using accurate field data along with lab results. A detailed Biodiversity study of the surrounding area was carried out as well as part of the EIA. Inclusion of Biodiversity study as a part of E.I.A is rare occurrence in the industry but study provided holistic picture of its ecosystem to the client to assess themselves about their impact on local ecosystem. The impacts of the project in construction and operational phase were assessed in terms of magnitude, scale and reversibility.
Terracon Ecotech Pvt. Ltd. performed and developed a Biodiversity Action Plan for Hindustan Zinc Ltd.’s mines at Agucha and Dariba in Rajasthan. These two sites were strategically selected because Dariba Smelting complex has 2 underground mines, which has highest productivity amongst all Zinc mines of HZL. The mine at Agucha is the world’s largest open cast mine. Therefore, activities of these mines may cause considerable impact on biodiversity of the area. This study included multiple components that merged together to give a comprehensive view of biodiversity and ecosystem services. A baseline ecological study of existing flora and fauna was done along with a socio-ecological survey. A detailed threat analysis was carried out for identifying potential threats to biodiversity from operations or any other surrounding activities. Natural Value Initiative (NVI) tool was used for benchmarking of ecosystem services through interactions with the management. The outcome of this study is a set of recommendations on conserving biodiversity in the study area. Various measures were suggested to mitigate the impacts and enhance biodiversity in the operational and surrounding area of the study site. All the mitigation measures were strategized and merged into a comprehensive BAP. Terracon has created a robust and comprehensive model for assessment, evaluation and reporting of biodiversity for Governments & Corporates to help them prepare a plan that can be easily understood, practical, relevant and implementable.
Pratibha Synthex Ltd. understood the importance of Carbon and Water Footprinting and selected Terracon Ecotech Pvt. Ltd. to assist in carrying out the baseline studies and suggest measures to improve the sustainability performance for water, waste and carbon. In relation to sustainability, measures were introduced both on the farm as well as within the Factory. Understanding and quantifying the footprints – carbon, water and waste profiles was the main objective of this study. A complete Life Cycle Analysis of their carbon footprint accounting of their facility in Indore was covered and a strategy to reduce carbon and water footprints was suggested. The study helped Pratibha Synthex Ltd. in its progress towards climate change initiatives and neutrality and convince its buyers.
A Rapid Biodiversity Survey and Assessment was carried out for ACC Ltd.’s site in South India. ACC, one of the premier Indian cement manufacturers and a subsidiary of Holcim Group, initiated a Rapid Biodiversity Survey and Assessment (RBSA) for two of their sites in south India. This project was a part of the larger Biodiversity Management System project initiated by Holcim in partnership with IUCN. The assignment involved a RBSA of the Plant Site and all the land at a distance of 10 km from the fringes of the site. A rapid ecological assessment is defined as a synoptic assessment, which is often undertaken as a matter of urgency, in the shortest timeframe possible to produce reliable and applicable results for its designed purpose. They are thus carried out in the shortest possible time to give a snapshot of all that exists at the selected site and provides just the adequate amount of information (not too much, not too little). The survey concluded that the site is close to a reserve forest of the Western Ghats, and the area around the site is regularly used by a wild elephant population. Invasive species were noted, and a management plan for their removal was formed. Sites for more detailed surveys were marked in the study area. Additionally, a formal impact assessment study was carried out by using Holcim’s in-house risk-based matrix. It showed that the Site falls in ‘Medium’ Biodiversity Risk category and that according to Holcim’s BMS; the site would need a Biodiversity Action Plan for better management of its biodiversity.
Alia Creative Consultants Ltd., part of the Aliagroup that operates in the premedia, brand consulting and print retail, appointed Terracon Ecotech to develop a Sustainability Strategy & Road Map for integrating sustainability into the company’s operation to obtain a competitive advantage for its international clients in the media and press industry. Terracon reviewed the company’s sustainability policies and practices to analyze how they could improve their practices. Terracon laid down an illustrative plan to engage the company’s main stakeholders which included their clients, suppliers, partners, employees and local community. A materiality matrix and GAP analysis was done to identify the company’s priority, important and secondary sustainability issues to create a roadmap for implementation of a strategy with specific activities to improvise company’s processes. A comprehensive corporate sustainability and social strategy was suggested for all stakeholders as well as a communication plan for their website and external communication. By the end of the project, Alia had been benchmarked with their peer companies globally which led to them being acquired by a French pre-media company in April 2014.
Mira Bhainder has been blessed abundantly with great flora and fauna as well as mangrove cover. It is important to estimate this mangrove cover, density and diversity of epibenthic faunal species through the collection of vital baseline data on biodiversity. The total mangrove cover of 20.7 km2 was estimated using satellite imageries followed by ground thruthing. 10 species of mangrove trees and 31 species of strand vegetation were found in the course of the survey. A total of 15 species of epibenthic fauna and more than 50 bird species were identified and recorded. A plan was laid down for the conservation of the mangroves of Mira Bhainder and preservation of species. This was a first such major initiatives in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) to map mangrove and study the associated ecosystem. The highlight of this study has been the field survey wherein the teams have entered the mangrove areas for physical assessment and understand the marine ecosystem and interdependencies thereof.
This project was an intensive study of various socio economic and environment components of watershed in seven clusters of three districts in Assam. It aimed at the preparation of a watershed management report integrating the development of asset less, marginal, BPL farmers, soil conservation as well as water conservations of the clusters. Since public participation is the key for a watershed management project, Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercises were conducted, combined with technical surveys of existing water and soil conservation structures. Proposed locations for soil and water conservation structures were identified using GPS technology. Based on PRA exercises, field visits and household surveys, we suggested activities for entrypoint, microenterprise & production and improvements in livelihood. We also suggested drainage line, ridge area and water harvesting structure for soil and water conservation that will be made by locally available material. This intensive study is concluded in Five year Action Plans for each of the projects at micro watershed level. This action plan includes budget allocations for each activity proposed, capacity building of Self Help Groups (SHG), User groups (UGs) to carry out watershed activities. It is an important project considering the data availability being very poor in northeast states of India, coupled with disturbance and inconsistent working hours in the study areas.
Two 600MW thermal power plants, being built by Coastal Energen Pvt. Ltd. at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, required a Green Belt to be designed spread over 300 acres, that not only complied with the EC Conditions of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) stipulations but also in sync with CPCB Guidelines. The briefing involved creating an exceptional design for greenbelt to match with the aesthetics of the location and civic infrastructure. Terracon conducted the baseline studies including deliberations with key officials and designed the layout of the greenbelt area with clear demarcation of areas into 6 zones based on pollution intensity. We also prepared an execution document that would help the client execute the project in a phased manner. The master plan of the greenbelt included irrigation systems, nursery project and technical details for plantation. We suggested species that would form a mix of native and foreign trees having evergreen foliage resulting in better ecological features..Terracon also helped the management convince MoEF authorities in increasing the spacing of trees to 5×5 metres thereby reducing the density to 400 trees per hectare, by giving scientific basis and technical reasons. The number of trees to be planted was considerable reduced from 1000 trees proposed in EC to 400 in the actual plan that resulted into cost saving and development of a healthy green belt for the client.
Larsen & Toubro appointed Terracon Ecotech to identify and enumerate the floral biodiversity including trees using GPS technology and estimate the carbon sequestration potential of each tree at their Powai Campus in Mumbai. The detailed tree inventory and vegetation study using up-to-date GPS technology covered an area of 37 hectares. Several on-field tree attributes and secondary tree attributes were recorded and every shrub, herb, grass, etc were also mapped and identified. Using the tree canopy and area under vegetation, the total tree cover for the Powai Campus was estimated and carbon sequestration was calculated using these tree attribute data. A total of 4120 trees belonging to 135 different species and ranging from 3-80 years were studied, other vegetation included about 44 different species belonging to various groups such as shrubs, herbs, grasses, creepers and ornamental plants. The L&T Powai Campus was found to be about 34.16% that is considered to be in compliance with the standard industrial norms. Tree carbon sequestration potential was estimated to be about 127 tons/year and a total of 2191 tons of carbon already sequestrated till date. After the successful complettion of this project, similar studies were undertaken at five other plants located in Hazira in Guajrat, Aurangabad & Lonavala in Maharashtra, Chennai in Tamil Nadu and Kansbahal in Odisha.
The development of India’s first urban biodiversity Index using an internationally coordinated survey, with the City Biodiversity Index (CBI) populated by the UN Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) took place at Mira Bhainder in Mumbai. Over an area of plain level land spanning 79.4km2 flanked by the Vasai creek from the north and the Manori creek from the south. Terracon undertook tasks of mapping, enumerating and evaluating indicators with multiple personnel from various fields ranging from biodiversity experts, GIS specialists, environment planners and engineers. Mira Bhainder was looked through the lens of three major components that form the Index– Native Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, and Governance and Management. The GIS layers were prepared using satellite images provided by the corporation, like landuse, waterbodies, road network and City Development Plan showing locations of parks, gardens and schools. Boundaries of natural areas such as those between mangroves and saltpans, forest patches etc. were also mapped to calculate indicators under Native Biodiversity. Field surveys and interviews were carried out to calculate other components of the Index. In all, 23 indicators were assessed, customized to Indian city conditions and a score was assigned for future benchmarking. Mira Bhainder is well endowed with rich native biodiversity with more than 50% area considered as natural areas. The city was asked to prepare a detailed Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (LBSAP) based on the scores and improvements required in deficient areas. Specific recommendations were made to incorporate parks and botanical garden in urban planning to ensure the survival and possible enhancement of biodiversity. MBMC was also asked to leverage its position of enjoying higher natural areas proportion to market itself as a destination city offering a quality of life, full of natural features, well laid out infrastructure with proximity to a metropolitan city like Mumbai.
TATA Power’s Trombay Thermal Power Plant situated on the eastern coast of Mumbai wanted to develop a Biodiversity Action Plan. A Biodiversity Action Plan for the site was made keeping in mind two main questions – ‘How can biodiversity help in improving the environment at the Plant site?’ and ‘How can the biodiversity itself at the Plant site be improved?’. Biodiversity and the natural features of which it is a part such as the mudflats or a wooded patch within the Project Site were considered not as mere static objects but those that perform crucial ecosystem services like purification of air, water and cleaning of soils. On the basis of this outlook, a series of Action Points were proposed that would answer the two questions posed above which included the plantation of appropriate plant species in appropriate places, creation of habitats for fauna forms and periodically monitoring biodiversity.
Terracon Ecotech conceptualized and prepared a Detailed Project Report of a Biodiversity Park for Mira Bhainder Municipal Corporation near Mumbai. The project conceived has no parallel in India and was the first Biodiversity Park Project encompassing two ecosystems viz. terrestrial and marine. The park harbours native flora and fauna of the region and showcases the wealth of biodiversity for cultural and educational benefit of society. Visitors can experience moist deciduous forests to mangrove trails via a boardwalk, as well as a panoramic view of the park from the two watchtowers built on the highest points of the park. An Exhibition Area and an Amphitheatre were planned to carry out educational activities while a Nature Interpretation Centre was proposed to allow visitors to learn more about nature and the importance of conservation. The main idea was to keep the Park devoid of permanent structures as much as possible and enhance the ecological features of the area.
Ecological restoration is an ideal long time solution for problems associated with any urbanized lake as well as aids in improving its aquatic ecosystem. Mandali lake, located in Mira-Bhainder, had low dissolved oxygen levels, high organic content due to religious offerings and fish feeding activities, strong odour, prominent algal mat layer and history of fish kills. Preventive and remedial measures such as aeration systems, bio-manipulation, fencing, water quality monitoring, public awareness, maintenance and regular cleaning of the lake etc were carried out. By the end of the project duration, the dissolved oxygen levels (DO) in the lake exceeded the minimum required DO levels, formation of algal mat was eliminated, zero presence of microcystis was noted, odour was drastically minimized and dumping of solid waste reduced thus transforming the lake in to a healthy ecosystem for survival of aquatic life.
Eight locations were identified in Raigad and Thane district of Maharashtra for the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP) funded by the World Bank. The project proposed the construction of embankments to stop seawater inundation and the renovation of existing damaged embankments. A primary survey of the sear was conducted at the village and family level to study, identify and describe the ecological, biological and socio-economic impacts on various environmental components. The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment study of the area was carried out to identify the drivers for intervention and locations. The embankments save crops from sudden rise in pH levels due to inundation by seawater. The possible impact of project on local population, means of livelihood, their valuable resources, economic activities, village infrastructure, quality of life including aesthetic and cultural values, migration were analyzed and suitable measures were suggested for overall village development and assist in women and fisherman development. The change in environmental status after the project implementation was predicted by using a matrix method, similar to Battelle Environmental Evaluation System (EES) method. The various components of environment and the project impacts on all the eight sites are evaluated and appropriate EMP and mitigation measures were suggested through the plan to minimize the impacts.
An Environment Management & Monitoring Plan (EMMP) was prepared for Paradip Port in Odisha that incorporated the “Environment Management System” in line with ISO 14001 and a roadmap for developing into a “Green Port”. A thorough study of environmental baseline and existing management systems was conducted and Pollution sources were identified to correlate with the pollutant levels within the port area. The impacts of Port operations on the Environment including air quality, water quality, soil and land as well as on ecology and biodiversity including Marine, estuarine, and terrestrial ecosystem were identified. A Pollution control and mitigation plan was developed based on the existing situation of the Port. Thus the Environment Management Plan included various plans like Pollution Prevention Plan (Air, Surface water, Marine, Noise, Spillage Prevention) , Biodiversity Management plan, Waste Management Plan, Oil Spill Contingency Plan, Fire Safety and Emergency Plan, Bird and rodent Management Plan, Social Management Plan and Community Security Management Plan. The EMMP also adhered to the landuse as per the CRZ protocol. Green port initiative was an important part of the document to outline the various measures the port can undertake to achieve the Green Port status. The EMMP paid special attention to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency solutions, water and waste management and green technologies. A complete section on Environment Management System was developed for the project to align itself with international norms in line with ISO 14001 standards. Thus through this EMMP, an efficient roadmap was provided for Paradip Port to move towards Sustainable Green Port.