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Multi-disciplinary Projects

Multi-disciplinary Projects

Nature has multiple forces acting in tandem with one another and often ecological issues have far reaching ripple effects. IORA has successfully undertaken several projects which seamlessly integrate insights from multiple channels to provide holistic solutions to complex ecological problems.


Assessing the impacts of Invasive Species on Forest Eco-system in the State of Sikkim

“IORA prepared a report on invasive plant species in Sikkim and prepared an action plan for their management in the context of climate change using high resolution remote sensing data and mapping technologies. The mapping was conducted using high resolution images of World View II , mapping algorithms and field information. Several algorithms were tested to delineate area under invasives. Data driven modelling improvised the mapping accuracy which was verified through ground truthing. Out of several species that were mapped, Lantana camara, Eupatorium and Ageratum conyzoides were identified as invasives. IORA also developed an action plan to assist the State Nodal Institutions on climate change and the implementation of the State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC). IORA provided effective management strategies for invasive species and conducted dissemination workshop with officials from forest department.

Location Sikkim
Duration Dec. 2016- March 2017
Client Name UNDP India
Sectors GIS, RS, Forestry
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Feasibility Study for Conservation of Ecologically Sensitive Dodamarg Biodiversity Corridor Region

Dodamarg is an Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA), part of the Western Ghats (a biodiversity hotspot) and a wildlife corridor. This study aimed to prioritize financial mechanisms for conservation activities in the area, like REDD+ feasibility to reduce the pressure generated from various drivers of deforestation. IORA generated a Land use/cover change matrix by analysing the Landsat satellite data from 2005 to 2015. The satellite datasets were classified using a hybrid approach. IORA used both leaf on and leaf off datasets to delineate the forest cover. Total area under study was 1350.21 square kilometres.

Location Maharastra
Duration May 2015-April 2016
Client Name Wild Life Research and Conservation Society, Maharashtra State Forest Department
Sectors GIS, RS, Forestry
Preparation of “Brief Document” on Wetlands of Sikkim State

IORA has been engaged for Preparing Brief Document of All Wetlands of Sikkim State to facilitate implementation of Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017. A total of 534 wetlands as per the data published in National Wetland Inventory and Assessment of High Altitude Himalayan Lakes by ISRO are being considered. The ‘Brief Document’ is expected to be a comprehensive digital inventory of all wetlands in Sikkim, and will provide i) demarcation of wetland boundary supported by accurate digital maps; ii) demarcation and description of its zone of influence, land use and land cover; iii) account of pre-existing rights and privileges; iv) list of site-specific activities to be permitted and regulated within the wetland and its zone of influence; and v) modalities for enforcement of regulations. This is the first of its kind field based assessment of a high altitude wetland.

Location Sikkim
Duration March 2018-March 2019 (ongoing)
Client Name Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim
Sectors GIS, RS, Forestry
Developing Climate Smart Agriculture Policy for India

IORA was commissioned by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to formulate a national policy on Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) and develop its corresponding operational guidelines for clusters of villages in the most vulnerable districts in India.. CSA is an integrative approach that aims to sustainably increase agricultural productivity, support equitable increase in farm incomes, food security and development; adapt and build resilience of agriculture and food security systems to climate change; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. In order to develop this policy IORA has identified key CSA practises and mapped existing government programmes to bring about an efficient convergence of these programmes.

DurationJuly 2017-Dec. 2017

Client Name International Food Policy Research Institute
Sectors Climate Change, Agriculture
Developing Sustainable Agriscapes for Future Phase 1 and Phase 2

“IORA was awarded the Sustainable Agriscape for the Future, Phase I and Phase II led by IUCN-India. The programme aims to study agro-ecosystems, their biodiversity and trends of ecosystem services, in order to design suitable ecosystem-based interventions to promote crop productivity to ensure the sustainability of various ecosystems.
The project promotes sustainable agriculture, ecological and biodiversity concerns and livelihood issues in three clusters in Munger district of Bihar. During Phase I of the programme, IORA has conducted baseline studies on assessment of Socio-economic, Biodiversity and Ecosystem services review, and spatial delineation of agriscape units based on mapping ecosystem services flow towards in agriculture in Munger landscape
In phase II of programme, IORA prepared a detailed project report on the agriscape plan on interventions for restoration and revival of ecosystem services in the pilot clusters viz; Asarganj, Kharagpur and Sadar. IORA also conducted a training need assessment and developed training modules on sustainable agriculture practices along with community based monitoring framework for activities implemented under the programme.
Additional information may be found at:

Location Bihar
Duration Sep. 2016 – continued
Client Name IUCN India, ITC
Sectors RS, GIS, Agriculture
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Innovations in Ecosystem Management & Conservation (IEMaC)

“IEMaC is a USAID supported project under their InFORM program, led by IORA Ecological Solutions and supported by other organizations like MART and Bioversity International. IEMaC aimed at reducing pressure on forests through development of innovative gender sensitive models for improved fuelwood management, community-centric solutions for sustainable harvesting and efficient market channelling of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) and community-based forest monitoring tools. The project was implemented in two landscapes; Sirsi in Karnataka and Mandla in Madhya Pradesh. NTFP enterprises were developed as an alternative livelihood opportunity for forest dependent communities. This involved developing sustainable NTFP harvesting techniques, community-centric entrepreneurs, Farmer Producer Company (FPC), organic certification and value addition at processing hubs and market linkages leading to a 30% increased income for forest dependent communities. Training has been initiated for over 50 women farmers. The program resulted in certification of 27 wild harvested produce, 20000 Ha of forest land & 400 farmers as organic under USDA-NOP, NPOP & EU 847/2007 organic standards.
The project led to the development of iFoReST (India’s Forest Resource Decision Support Tool), an innovative decision support system (DSS) that scientifically guides investments aimed at addressing unsustainable extraction of fuelwood from forests. The iFoReST was deployed in Sirsi and Mandla in with the Karnataka Forest Department and Madhya Pradesh Forest Department, respectively. Several clean technology installations targeting domestic, commercial and institutional users of fuelwood were carried out by clean technology entrepreneurs trained under the project. There was 1,000 tonnes of reduced CO2 emissions as a result of community plantations, fuel-efficient water heaters, dryers, cookstoves ,and jaggery processing units along with household biogas plants.

Location Multiple states of India
Duration Aug. 2014-July 2018
Client Name USAID India
Sectors Forestry, RS and GIS
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Partnership for Land Use Science (USAID Forest-PLUS) Programme

“IORA was a key in-country partner of the Forest PLUS Program, which is a bilateral USAID and MoEFCC initiative. The Program aimed to build REDD+ readiness in India through ecosystem management, REDD+ MRV and PPP initiatives. IORA, in association with the Michigan State University (MSU), has developed a national Forest Carbon MRV system for India. IORA developed M-Forest, a mobile App for ease of collection of ground data by forest departments enabling transparent monitoring of carbon stock assessment and conservation of forest natural resources. IORA has also led the development of a national PPP and convergence framework for REDD+ in India and the development of four REDD+ pilots; two jurisdictional REDD+ projects and one landscape level project. IORA has partnered with Forest Survey of India (FSI) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to design advanced algorithms for remote sensing analysis using optical and radar data for forest type identification, degradation and deforestation mapping.
Remote sensing data on forest fractional cover in Sikkim, Harda and Hoshangabad districts Madhya Pradesh, and in Shivamogha district in Karnataka were analysed.
The interventions include designing systems for assessment of forest health across types and landscapes, building human and institutional capacity, developing and deploying improved scientific methods for carbon inventory. IORA actively engaged stakeholders, facilitated public private partnerships in the forestry sector and developed pilot voluntary community based REDD+ projects across four chosen landscapes in India. An excess of 100 million USD was garnered for implementation of some of the 40 interventions identified in the REDD+ PDDs across these regions through PPP partnerships
Web links:
Annual Progress Report 2012-2013
URL: http://www.moef.nic.in/sites/default/files/Quarter%203%20Year%202012-13.pdf
Annual Progress Report 2013-2014
URL: http://www.moef.nic.in/sites/default/files/Annual%20Progress%20Report%20Year%202013-14.pdf
Progress Update till Feb. 2015
URL: http://www.moef.nic.in/sites/default/files/Progress%20Update%20till%20February%202015.pdf

Location Pan India
Duration July 2012- Sep. 2017
Client Name TetraTech ARD, USAID India
Sectors Climate Change, RS GIS, Forestry
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Vulnerability Assessment of Forest and Biodiversity Sectors due to Climate Change in Eight (8) districts of Mizoram

The overall goal of the project is to safeguard the forest and biodiversity sectors of Mizoram from the impacts of climate change. IORA is using two key approaches viz. global analysis of Mizoram’s’ forest ecosystems and the assessment of forests and biodiversity vulnerability using multi-factor analysis. A combination of top down and bottom up approaches using IPCC and UNDP guidelines will be used to develop a sector specific climate change resilience action plan for Mizoram. The key steps involved in the execution of the project include assessing the inherent and the future vulnerability of the two sectors through consultations, field activities and simulations. Field activities will be conducted across the eight districts of Mizoram to gather primary data that will be utilised with secondary data to assess district wise vulnerabilities. This will be validated through stakeholder consultations. Climate smart adaptive actions, vulnerability assessment (inherent and future) of important species and preparation of an index based vulnerability layer for Mizoram will be finalized through consultation reports. Additionally, an Intervention Resource Matrix will be prepared to understand the interventions, resource availability and budgets for project management purposes.

Location Mizoram
Duration Sep. 2018-Ongoing
Client Name Department of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Govt. of Mizoram
Sectors Forestry, GIS, Climate Change