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Forestry and Biodiversity

Forestry and Biodiversity

IORA’s whole systems approach to forestry and biodiversity includes application of spatial technology, forest dependence modelling, community engagement, management planning, project implementation, designing robust monitoring strategies, financing and policy design at national and sub-national levels. IORA has also developed a singular platform for building partnerships for forestry that help leverage resources from a public and private sector and channelizing them into interventions for forest conservation and enhancement, identified through scientific research using various methodologies, tools, and techniques. We aim to create a self-sustainable system for each intervention that can continue to support the initiative in the long run. IORA’s biodiversity conservation efforts combine biodiversity assessment, valuation, finance and application of market mechanisms to recognize the true value of biodiversity. IORA advises businesses in managing their biodiversity risk and developing biodiversity positive value chains. We identify financial instruments to incentivize business investments in biodiversity.


Climate Adapted Afforestation Plan of Native Trees along the Railway Tracks in Gurugram and Faridabad District for Haryana Forest Department

Haryana Forest Department in collaboration with Indian Railways has taken up climate change adapted afforestation project that aims to mitigate soil erosion and dust pollution. The initiative includes development of tree lines as noise barriers, forest carbon sinks, and increasing of the area under forests. IORA conducted a baseline survey along the railway tracks from Asaoti to Palwal and Gurugram to Patali each of 10 km length. IORA also developed an IORA Railway Afforestation Model (IRAM), comprising of small, medium and large size native tree species like Anogeissus pendula, Azadirachta indica, Boswellia serrata, Cassia fistula and Dalbergia sissoo. Approximately 25,000 saplings were planted along the railway tracks. To ensure the sustainability of the afforestation programme, IORA has proposed a satellite based temporal and mobile app as a monitoring platform to the forest department.

Location Haryana
Duration July-Aug. 2018
Client Name Haryana Forest Department
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Survival Rate and Carbon Sequestration Assessment of Plantations Undertaken by Mahindra Finance

The Mahindra Group, has always been in the forefront of CSR initiatives and has taken up a large scale plantation program Hariyali from 2007-08 onwards. As a part of the initiative, 13 million trees have been planted with an aim to attain low carbon growth. IORA assessed the carbon sequestered by the plantations in Hariyali Project from 2007-09 till 2017-18 and estimated the survival percentage of the plantations, carbon stock assessment of the plantation, and projection of carbon sequestration potential of the plantation for 2020 to 2030. Field surveys were conducted across India.

Duration June 2018-Aug. 2018
Client Name Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Limited
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Wood Assessment in Gujarat and Adjoining Areas of Maharashtra

IORA carried out an assessment of the local and imported wood availability in Gujarat and Maharashtra to support a major Japanese Investor and a leading Indian manufacturer in assessing the viability of establishing a Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) plant in the region. IORA carried out a detailed literature review, interviews with forest department officials, with importers and with others involved in the marketing value chain for wood in order to arrive at reliable estimates.
This initiative was to gain a deeper understanding of wood demand and supply; market mechanisms and the role of market functionaries. IORA assessed the surplus availability of wood in Gujarat and adjoining areas of Maharashtra for the proposed MDF and Particle Board plant.

Location Gujarat
Duration Dec. 2012-June 2013
Client Name HSIL Limited & Sumitomo Forestry Co., Ltd.
Scoping Study: Mainstreaming Biodiversity Business in India

IORA carried out a scoping study for MoEFCC, GoI and GIZ India on developing matrices for mainstreaming biodiversity concerns in business practices of Indian corporates. This scoping study assessed the landscape of biodiversity initiatives in India and globally, and provided recommendations to establish appropriate practices for valuation and conservation of biodiversity. IORA shortlisted candidate Indian companies for four pilot studies to showcase the benefits of this practice. Based on the outcomes of this study and recommendations, CII developed the “India Business and Biodiversity Initiative” for India.

Duration 2013
Client Name GIZ India, MoEFCC, GoI
Analysing UPPFMPAP Joint Forest Management Carbon Sequestration Project

IORA, in collaboration with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Uttar Pradesh Forest Department, developed ten Clean Development Mechanism projects to be managed by JFMCs. The projects are aimed at restoring degraded forests and improving local livelihoods by focussing on JFMC plantations and community development.

Location Uttar Pradesh
Duration April 2013-Dec. 2014
Client Name The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) & Uttar Pradesh Forest Department
Analysing Forest Carbon Accounts for Sustainable Policy Option with Special Reference to Livelihood Issues

IORA partnered with Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Vienna to implement this project. Supported by the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), Department of Science and Technology (DST), the project aimed to establish, through detailed field analysis in the three Indian states of Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, a relationship between livelihood options of forest-dependent communities and forest ecosystem services, and developed models to relate changes in the carbon stock of forests based on livelihoods. IORA played a key role in evolving the system architecture of the model, in coordinating field data collection with states and in developing and validating the model with IIASA.

Duration Oct. 2010-March 2014
Client Name Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India
Development of NAMA Concept of Forestry

IORA, in partnership with UNIQUE Forestry and Land Use GmbH has developed the design of a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) for the forestry sector in India as part of an Indo-German bilateral initiative guided by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India and supported by GIZ, India. This NAMA was on “Reducing Forest Degradation and Deforestation in Assam through Sustainable Fuelwood Management”. IORA was involved in identification of NAMA options, elaboration of the institutional and policy set-up, calculation of the baselines and mitigation potentials, qualification and quantification of co-benefits, creation of a capacity development strategy, assessment of required resources for NAMA implementation and designing financing solutions with all involved stakeholders. Additionally, IORA identified international funding opportunities for forestry NAMA in line with the Paris Agreement.

Duration July 2015- June 2017
Client Name GIZ India, UNIQUE Forestry and Land Use GmbH
Feasibility Study: Forestry NAMA in India

IORA carried out a scoping study for MoEFCC and GIZ, India to identify mitigation options under the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) in the Indian forestry sector. IORA assessed the mitigation actions in various policies, programs and projects of the forestry sector across India which could potentially be developed as domestic or supported NAMAs. Post stakeholder consultations and analysis, four high impact potential NAMA options were identified. The options were tested for criteria and indicators developed for forestry NAMAs in India and are currently under evaluation by MoEFCC. One of the options – Sustainable Fuelwood Management NAMA – was selected to be India’s first NAMA. Architecture of the program was subsequently designed, followed by pilot implementation in Assam.

Duration 2014-2015
Client Name GIZ India
MAH 018: Providing support to Government of Maharashtra for Accessing Funds available under Integrated Coastal Zone Management Programme

The project aims to support Government of Maharashtra to access funds under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Programme of Government of India and World Bank. IORA assessed the existing government and non-government plans, reports, policies and interventions for a comprehensive contextual analysis of the coastal ecosystem of Maharashtra. IORA proposed a comprehensive list of interventions under the ICZM based on synthesis of baseline data and consultation with government, research institutions, community and technology partners

Location Maharastra
Duration Nov. 2017- Dec. 2017
Client Name Action on Climate Today, Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)
Assess Carbon Sequestration Capability of Plantations Developed within RJ Operations

The study was commissioned by Vedanta Limited, Cairn Oil & Gas, for RJ-ON-90/1 Rajasthan block, situated in Barmer district. The main objective of the assignment was to quantity the carbon sequestered in the green belt plantations developed by Cairn India Limited. IORA mapped the green belt areas developed using high resolution satellite images and carried an ecological survey to evaluate the status of plantation raised. The final assessment of carbon sequestration of plantation was calculated for above ground biomass, below ground biomass and soil organic carbon using approved methods for carbon sequestration under UNFCCC Afforestation/Reforestation methodologies.

Duration March 2018- Aug. 2018
Client Name VEDANTA Ltd. (Cairn Oil and Gas)
Impact Assessment of Ecosystem Services created due afforestation activities of ONGC of Ringal Bamboo in Upper Himalayas

As per the NAPCC Mission – “Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem”, ONGC took the initiative for Ringal (Small Hill Bamboo) plantation in 730 Ha in Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Kedarnath Wildlife Division and Pithoragarh Forest Division situated in upper Himalayan region of Uttarakhand. IORA conducted an assessment impact of all visible plantations on Ecosystem Services on the project site. The study includes the assessment of land use pattern of area before the plantation, the present status, and changes that have occurred as a result of plantation. This would also encompass the impact on purification of air, enhancement of water resources in the area and the quality of soil; enhancement of floral diversity; and impact on local communities in terms of livelihood creation.

Location Maharastra
Duration Feb. 2017-Contd.
Client Name Oil and Natural Gas Commission of India (ONGC)
National Technical Assistance to Analyze Data and Design Best Practices During Updation of Forest

IORA has assisted in updating 21 Working Plans in Assam as per NWPC-2014 using global best practices and latest technology. IORA has provided technical assistance to analyze the data, update relevant portions of the Working Plans and train forest department personnel on NWPC-2014. IORA also aided to access upcoming national and international financial instruments like REDD+, NAMAs, INDCs, Green India Mission. IORA worked on integrating remote sensing analysis and GIS with the working plans in a seamless manner, and created robust datasets. IORA has also developed a mobile app (MForest) to ensure mainstreaming of best practices for future working plan exercises.

Location Assam
Duration April 2016- May 2017
Client Name Assam Projects on Forest and Biodiversity Conservation Society (APFBC)
Evaluation of Works done under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) in the State of Telangana

Under CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management & Planning Authority), large-scale activities have been taken up by Telangana State Forest Department (TSFD) from 2009-2010 onwards for preservation & development of natural forests, afforestation of degraded forest areas, forest protection, forest fire management, management of wildlife, capacity building, research & development, infrastructure development in the sector and other allied works. IORA Ecological Solutions carried out technical evaluation of activities taken up from 2009-2010 to 2015-2016 year wise throughout the state under different components of CAMPA. The study involved design of evaluation methodology, sampling of ten per cent of each component for each year and visits to all concerned forest areas to physically verify and record CAMPA works.

Location Telangana
Duration April 2017- May 2018
Client Name Telangana Forest Department (TGFD), GoI
Pilot Implementation of India’s Forestry NAMA in Assam under BMUB IKI Project ‘Development and Management of NAMA in India’

IORA was engaged by GIZ India to carry out pilot implementation of India’s first Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) in the forestry sector on “Reducing Forest Degradation and Deforestation in Assam through Sustainable Fuelwood Management” The NAMA pilot programme demonstrated the practicability of the NAMA concept and its readiness to be scaled up and replicated. The programme ensured deployment and sustained adoption of fuelwood saving technologies in 5 tea estates and 5 forest villages in Assam. A Decision Support System (DSS) based on IORA’s iFoReST model was used. IORA also helped secure finances to deploy fuelwood saving technologies in at least 50 households in each tea estate and the forest village in the chosen cluster from public (e.g. government subsidy programmes) and private sectors (e.g. CSR and personal financing by households).

Location Assam
Duration August 2017-Jan 2018
Client Name GIZ India
Climate Change Adaptation Programme in the Himalaya - Component I Manipur – Community-based Sustainable Forest Management for Water Resources Conservation

IORA has implemented “Climate Change Adaptation Programme in the Himalaya -Component I Manipur – Community-based Sustainable Forest Management for Water Resources Conservation” in partnership with GFA Consulting Group, Hamburg. The initiative supported the Department of Forests and Environment, Government of Manipur, to develop strategies to adapt to climate change by sustainably developing Manipur’s forests to enhance water catchment functions and local livelihoods.
IORA planned and secured support for improvements in forest and water management with the participation of government and village-level stakeholders. IORA supported the restoration and sustainable management of upper watersheds and built capacity for community-based watershed management and enhance downstream water supply.

Location Manipur
Duration Feb. 2018 – Ongoing
Client Name GFA Consulting Group, KfW (BMZ), Germany
Climate resilience of forest ecosystems, biodiversity adaptive capacities of forest dependent communities in Tripura

The main objective of the project was to address vulnerability factors like biophysical and socio-economic factors, forestry & biodiversity conservation and food security. It improved sustainable forest management in Tripura and allowed beneficiaries (mainly people with rights over forest lands given under Recognition of Forests Rights, 2006 – commonly called patta land) to develop and introduce a climate resilient forest ecosystem management. Outcomes included: i)Restoration of the degraded ecological environment in the intervention area; ii) Protection of the catchment area of the rivers- points-of-origin; iii) Enhanced income generation opportunities for families from natural resources iv) Setting up of a decentralized, bottom-up planning process for communities to be directly linked with industry and thus, assured sustainable income from locally available natural resources would be established

Location Tripura
Duration Feb. 2018- Aug. 2018
Client Name UNIQUE Forestry and Land Use GmbH, KfW (BMZ), Germany
Preparing Decision Support Tool -Region and Context Dependent Afforestation for Water Conservation and Run – off Avoidance

IORA developed a region and context based decision support tool (DST) for the Department of Forest, Government of Maharashtra to undertake afforestation programmes with a positive impact on water conservation and runoff avoidance. The DST is easily accessible from tablets, smartphone or PC, laptop and has a backend server to store data. The key modules of the initiative were:
• Developing a set of DST parameters to assist afforestation
• Developing DST parameter specific spatial layers
• Developing lists of species suited for specific sites and conditions in Maharashtra
• Consultation and validation exercises across the six divisions of Maharashtra
• Development of species centric digital afforestation plans for water conservation in all the six divisions of Maharashtra
• Development of database for afforestation including final spatial layers and species coding
• Development of a mobile app (ADSS – Afforestation Decision Support System) for android and iPhone users and a WEP, along with designing/developing the interface that is on the server that will host the database

Location Maharastra
Duration 2016 – present
Client Name Maharashtra Forest Department, DFID
Assessment of Bamboo Resources in North Eastern States of India

IORA assessed the availability of bamboo resources in the North-eastern states of India. Bamboo is an important non-wood forest resource and is a fast growing, wide spread, renewable, versatile, low cost natural resource. It also plays an important role in carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation. A literature survey presented a realistic picture of the sourcing potential of bamboo from these regions. State-wise bamboo bearing areas, by density was studied. The final report provided information on bamboo resources in the six North-eastern States (Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura), the quantity obtained from different sources, regeneration status and artificial bamboo plantations in these areas. IORA presented a comparative analysis of bamboo plantations of various species raised in the North-eastern States through time series data

Location North-East
Duration Nov. 2012- March 2013
Client Name ITC
TEEB Scoping Study for India

The Economics of Environment and Biodiversity (TEEB) is an international initiative to promote inclusion of the true value of ecosystem services in planning processes at governmental, societal and corporate levels, and develop markets for rewarding conservation. IORA co-authored the TEEB – India Scoping Study for the forestry sector in partnership with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. The study was supported and published by MoEFCC, GoI.

Duration Aug. 2012-Dec. 2012
Client Name MoEFCC, GoI, GIZ India
``Forests are Life`` Campaign

IORA developed an awareness campaign ‘Forests are Life’ to commemorate the International Day of Forests on 21st March in partnership with Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, USAID, Forest-PLUS Program, JC Decaux (outdoor media partner) and Vertiver (design partner). The campaign was launched in 2015 and was officially inaugurated in 2016 by MoEFCC in a consultation for public and private sector partners. Forests are Life is a unique campaign that uses Indian folk art to communicate the benefits and ecosystems services provided by forests. Campaign visuals were displayed on outdoor media sites across New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. Owing to the success of the campaign, the campaign was extended by 4-6 months instead of the originally committed 2 months in 2015 and 2016

Location New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru
Duration 2015-2019
Participatory Integrated Landscape Level Management Plan and Strategy for Jammu & Kashmir Landscape under SECURE-Himalaya.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India along with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has commenced a new GEF funded project, SECURE Himalaya (Securing livelihoods, conservation, sustainable use and restoration of high range Himalayan ecosystems) in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim. The project will assist the national and state governments to effectively promote sustainable land and forest management in alpine pastures in the Himalayan ecosystems that secure sustainable livelihoods and ensure conservation of globally significant biodiversity and threatened species. The overarching objective is to prepare a participatory integrated landscape level management strategy and plans by defining the extent of J&K landscape (alpine and sub-alpine) and evaluation of landscape level strategies that integrate biodiversity, ecosystem services, climate mitigation, sustainable community resource use and socio-economic considerations. It aims to bring about a paradigm shift from the current approach of conservation to new approach of integrated landscape based conservation in areas within and outside protected areas to reduce threats to the biodiversity in the landscape. The project is based within the country’s highest landscape, the Changthang Cold Desert Landscape in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
IORA is facilitating active participation of J&K landscape stakeholder’s for identification of critical gaps in the socioeconomic, biodiversity, ecological and ecosystem services sectors. IORA will conduct field validations and apply geospatial technologies to delineate priority areas. Information generated will be simplified and disseminated amongst the stakeholder’s to identify site-specific natural resource conservation actions and enterprise-based sustainable livelihoods. Finally, IORA will facilitate consolidation of all the site-specific actions into an Integrated Landscape Level Strategy and Plan for J&K Landscape. The landscape level plan will be validated through a stakeholders workshops.

Location Jammu & Kashmir
Duration Oct. 2018- April 2019
Client Name UNDP India
Study to Develop roadmap for implementation of India’s NDC goal 5 regarding forestry

Goal 5 of India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) is “to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2eq through additional forest and tree cover by 2030”. In this context, MoEFCC has commissioned a study to develop a roadmap to achieve this goal. The NDCs outline post-2020 climate actions intended under the Paris Agreement of 2015. IORA has been engaged to develop a complete roadmap for achieving NDC goal 5.
IORA is mapping all existing plans, programs, measures and mechanisms pertaining to NDC goal 5 and assessing the current status of implementation of these policies. The complete forestry sector encompassing trees outside forests, mangroves, wetlands, coastal and marine ecosystems and plantations along highways is being considered. IORA will conduct a SWOT analysis in the areas of policy, technology, financial and capacity building and then recommend sector specific measures including budgetary requirements to fulfil goal 5. Additionally, IORA will innovative forestry measures like plantations in arid areas that will converge with goal 5.

Duration Dec. 2018 – Feb.2019
Client Name MoEFCC, GOI
Partnership for Green Madhya Pradesh

A large scale afforestation was undertaken in Madhya Pradesh in partnership with Madhya Pradesh Government, Mahindra Sanyo Special Steel Private Limited (MSSSPL) and Forest-PLUS. As part of this project, MSSSPL developed a nursery of Bamboo, Teak and Sheesham (Indian Rosewood) plants over a period of one year with the help of training and support provided by IORA (as Forest-PLUS partner). Upon maturity, 42,000 saplings and rhizomes were transported to Harda and Hoshangabad districts in Madhya Pradesh where local administration provided land, labour and inputs for plantation and maintenance of 6000 plants. The remaining 36,000 saplings were planted by farmers on their agricultural land for agro-forestry. Government of MP and Forest Department have committed to ensure health of the plantations over the next three years. MSSSPL has committed for an additional five years of support after the successful initiative.

Location Madhya Pradesh
Duration 2015-2019
Client Name Government of Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh Forest Department, Forest-PLUS Program, Mahindra Sanyo Special Steel Private Limited