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Forest Working Plan

Assessment of Forest Carbon Stock and Building Capacity of Tripura Forest Department and SACTFORM Project Personnel on Assessment of Forest

Commissioned by JICA, we have undertaken an assessment of forest carbon stocks under the Tripura SCATFORM Project towards building the capacity of forest department staff and community holders. We will be conducting field exercises for forest department staff on mapping forest carbon stock. This will aid the forest department officials to plan and implement carbon stock individually in the future. Towards the end, a comprehensive report on carbon stock mapping with results on carbon analysis based on the forest types, canopy density classes, JFMC wise, and overall stock of forests will be shared.

Revision of Assam State Action Plan on Climate Change (ASAPCC) & Preparation of Vulnerability Action Plan for Agro-Climatic Zones of Assam

IORA is currently engaged by the Assam Climate Change Management Society to update and review the current SAPCC and prepare a Vulnerability Action Plan for 6 Agro-Climatic Zones of Assam. We endeavor to review the ASAPCC document and align it with the SDGs, NDCs, missions and national, international commitments of India, keeping in view the state government’s priorities to boost up the climate resilience of Assam. A brief report on gaps and recommendations along with Table of Contents of the revised SAPPC will be shared by IORA. The revised SAPCC will also involve incorporation of inputs form Nodal Department, State Steering Committee and MoEFCC. A Vulnerability Assessment report will also be submitted, along with listing of available and best suited climate projection for Assam, selected indicators for the study, vulnerability indices for the 6 zones and drivers of vulnerability for adaptation planning.

Assessing community climate risk in Majuli, Assam

IORA assessed the trends of floods and erosion in Majuli under this project. We also evaluated climate change impacts on these Hazards, ascertained escalated hazard risks on communities through FGDs (64 villages across 20 Gram Panchayats in Majuli); determined community adaptive capacities; and designed climate resilient adaptation actions with budgets and probable source of funding to ensure long term preparedness.

Sustainable Action for Climate Resilient Development in Assam: Towards Carbon Neutral Majuli

IORA conceptualized and designed a carbon neutrality roadmap for Majuli. Majuli aims to be India’s first Carbon neutral district. We identified 19 interventions in key sectors, such as energy, water, transportation, agriculture, waste management and carbon sequestration, and proposed a tentative budget (~1200 Cr over a period of 3 years), as well as mapped the sources for financing the suggested actions.

Innovations in Ecosystem Management & Conservation (IEMaC)

USAID initiated the Innovations in Ecosystem Management and Conservation (IEMaC) project under it’s InFORM (Innovations in Forest Resource Management) program. IORA led the deployment of IEMaC in collaboration with MART and Bioversity International. Implemented in two landscapes- Sirsi (Karnataka) and Mandla (Madhya Pradesh), IEMaC aimed at reducing pressure on forests through development of innovative gender sensitive tools for improved fuelwood management, community-centric NTFP value chains and community based forest-monitoring tools. They were trained on gendered value-chain development and assessment of its impact at household and enterprise level. We developed NTFP enterprises as an alternative livelihood strategy for the forest dependent communities. This involved developing sustainable NTFP harvesting techniques, community-based 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. 50 women farmers were trained under the program. 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 both the landscapes 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. The project resulted in 1,000 tonnes of reduced CO2 emissions, through increased community plantations, installation of fuel-efficient water heaters, dryers, cookstoves and jaggery processing units along with household biogas plants.

Fostering Community Forest Management in Nagaland

IORA collaborated with TERI, to develop a community-based forest conservation REDD+ project with emphasis on livelihood benefits from sustainable land use practices in the PKR (Phenstunyu Khenyupj Rumesinyu) Reserve in Nagaland. The project aimed to improve rural livelihood through sustainable management of forests, forest conservation, enhancement of forest carbon stock and production of long-term verifiable voluntary emission reductions by carbon sequestration. The interventions have resulted in reduced pressure on natural resources in the community forest land. IORA also studied potential markets for carbon and other ecosystems services to benefit Nagaland’s communities.

Policy Advisory

Analysing Feasibility of REDD+ on HCV Forests in Indonesia and Malaysia

IORA provided consultancy services to Standard Bank, Singapore and Sime Darby Corporation, Malaysia to analyze the feasibility of development of REDD+ projects on High Conservation Value (HCV) lands. IORA also assessed carbon sequestration capacity of the Palm Oil plantations and other project areas.

Recommendations to 15th Finance Commission of India for Enriching Current Tax Devolution Formula for Increased Allocations of Funds towards Forest, Environment & Climate Change

In continuation to our collaborative study with Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM) and Forest Survey of India (FSI) on High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) for the 14th Finance Commission in 2014, IORA developed a set of recommendations for the 15th Finance Commission. We recommended performance-based pollution abatement grants, along with grants-in-aid for meeting NDC commitments and restoration of forest ecosystems. We further advocated for maintenance of the current weightage of forest cover in the main devolution formula.

High Conservation Value Forests: An Instrument for Effective Forest Fiscal Federalism in India

IORA and IIFM developed a new set of criteria for the 14th Finance Commission to identify High Conservation Value Forests. The study helped develop India’s current tax devolution formula for distributing revenue from central to state governments. The new tax devolution formula balanced the distribution of the sharable central taxes amongst states based on the quality of their forest cover. Making India the first country to undertake Ecological Fiscal Transfer (EFT) based on forest cover, the formula provides 7.5% weightage to forests, amassing sharable central taxes to the tune of ₹ 3.53 Lakh Crores. This amount was disbursed to the states during the XIV Finance Commission’s term.

India’s First REDD+ Manual for Practitioners

IORA, in association with IIFM and MoEFCC, designed a REDD+ manual, intended to serve as a quick-access guide for forestry practitioners and end users that brought considerable clarity on REDD+ concepts and issues. The manual also initiated actions for REDD+ readiness for India

Developing Road Map for NDC Goal 5 of India- MoEFCC, GoI (2018-2020)

In its’ NDC Goal 5, India has committed “to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2eq through additional forest and tree cover by 2030”. Therefore, MoEFCC commissioned a study to develop a roadmap to achieve the goal. IORA carried out a mapping and assessment of existing plans, programs, measures and mechanisms pertaining to NDC Goal 5. We covered the complete forestry sector, encompassing trees outside forests, mangroves, wetlands, coastal and marine ecosystems and plantations along highways. We conducted SWOT analysis in the spheres of policy, technology, finance and capacity building, towards recommending sector specific measures including budgetary requirements that will aid in fulfilling the goal.

India Specific REDD+ Methodology

IORA with GIZ India has developed a REDD+ARR Methodology as per Verified Carbon Standard. This methodology will be used for developing REDD+ projects in Indian landscapes facing mosaic deforestation and degradation. Various aspects including mapping of drivers and agents of forest change, development of baselines, quantification of emissions from pools, stakeholder engagements, and monitoring structure have been detailed in the methodology. It also helped project developers to bring down transaction costs while developing REDD+ projects efficiently.

REDD+ Reference Policy Document

IORA supported the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India to develop a REDD+ Reference policy document for India for 2014. IORA contributed to designing the institutional arrangement for REDD+ in India and assigned roles and responsibilities to MoEFCC, Forest Survey of India (FSI), Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), State Forest Department, Joint Forest Management (JFM) Committees, Panchayats and Gram Sabhas. IORA also designed governance and safeguard mechanisms to ensure that REDD+ implementation supports the rights of local communities and indigenous tribals along with biodiversity conservation in forests.
The complete document can be accessed here:
http://envfor.nic.in/sites/default/files/press-releases/Reference%20Document%20For%20REDD+%20in%20India.pdf

Revision of UPSAPCC

GIZ India engaged IORA to revise the State Action Plan for Climate Change in Uttar Pradesh (UP SAPCC) in line with India’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. An overarching objective of the project is to assist in the preparation of new short-term (2023) and long-term (2030) climate change adaptation and mitigation plans. IORA conducted district-level climate vulnerability assessment using the IPCC AR5 methodology and carried out a policy analysis to establish linkages between ongoing policies/programmes, schemes and strategies to enhance climate resilience. The analysis will establish linkages between these strategies and national and state level commitments, as adopted under the State SDG Targets and NDCs. The SAPCC review will develop a plan to explore convergence opportunities between domestic and international finance. This will aid in the development of state specific investment plans for identified streams of actions within respective missions.

Updating Maharashtra SAPCC

IORA updated the Maharashtra State Action Plan for Climate Change (SAPCC), after collating district wise data across all 36 districts. We assessed climate trends and associated impacts in each district, basis which they were ranked as per a “vulnerability index”. Additionally, 14 priority interventions were identified to implement the climate policy based on costs and benefits that focused on climate change adaptation. Interventions included supporting the livelihood diversification schemes, promoting solar water pumps and organic farming, mandatory treatment & re-use of wastewater and development of a climate change cell among others. An effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework was also prepared for implementing the interventions, collecting periodic feedback and for enabling corrections.

Communication Package for Mizoram SAPCC

IORA prepared a communication package for policy makers and general public under the Mizoram State Action Plan for Climate Change (SAPCC). This package included an executive summary of the SAPCC and brochures for knowledge dissemination. An abstract for SAPCC, along with a Monitoring & Evaluation framework for implementation was also developed by IORA.

Support to Telangana State Government in Preparation of Project Proposal from Prioritized Activities in SAPCC

IORA developed a concept note and project proposal for better soil and water management in the arid areas of Telangana. We assessed the scope, cost and sustainability of prioritized interventions, suggested by state department in the State Action Plan for Climate Change (SAPCC), under this project.

MRV / MEL

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.

Preparing Decision Support Tool -Region and Context Dependent Afforestation for Water Conservation and Run – off Avoidance

As part of our afforestation programmes, we developed a regional Decision Support Tool (DST) for the Maharashtra Forest Department to help create positive impacts on water conservation and runoff avoidance. IORA finalised the decision support system parameters and projected the analysed data in the spatial domain. We also created GIS layers in the spatial domain which constituted forest type, forest cover, LULC, soil, temperature, rainfall, hydrological and geological information. These layers were used for the development of digital species centric afforestation plans for water conservation in the area under study. IORA also designed an Afforestation Decision Support System (ADSS) by developing a web-enabled portal (WEP) hosting the GIS layer and a database to answer queries for both android and iPhone systems.

Third Party Evaluation of Increasing Green Cover in the State (IGC), Odisha

Situated on the east coast of India with a coast line of nearly 450 km, the state of Odisha is highly vulnerable to climate change and natural calamities like floods, droughts, cyclones and heat waves. In an endeavor to build the state’s resilience, the Odisha Government launched the Increasing Green Cover (IGC) Scheme in the FY 2013-2014 for a period of 4 years. IGC undertook afforestation and regeneration activities across urban areas in the form of Economic Plantation, Avenue Plantation and Bald Hill Plantations. It furthered the Odisha Bamboo development programme, agro-forestry, permanent nurseries, distribution of efficient chulhas and plantations in areas under forests as well as outside. IORA in collaboration with IIFM, was hired to conduct a third party evaluation of the IGC Program for the period of 2013-2014 to 2016-2017. We assessed the suitability of the scheme, scope for modification, efficacy of implementation, survival, growth, and impact of plantation techniques applied and accordingly suggested modifications. Working on a stratified random sample of 550 sites, verification was carried out using GPS mapping, across 44 forest divisions and 2 urban sites. Using physical verification and collection of field data, non-plantation components like Fuel Efficient Chulhas, Maintenance of Permanent Nursery, Agroforestry, SSO of Timber and SSP of Bamboo were also verified.

Third Party Evaluation of Works done under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) in the State of Telangana

Multiple afforestation and regeneration activities have been undertaken under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) in Telangana in lieu of forestland diverted for non-forest purposes. Recognising the need to assess the efficacy of these activities, Telangana State Forest Department has engaged IORA to conduct third party technical evaluation of CAMPA works carried out from 2016-2019. On-site verification and discussions with stakeholders will be carried out to assess the veracity of the work executed under CAMPA. Based on this, a comprehensive data report will be prepared, along with relevant geo -tagged photographs, based on physical verification so that meaningful inferences can be drawn about the quality and quantity aspects of different categories of works executed under CAMPA.

VA

Vulnerability Assessment of Forest and Biodiversity Sectors due to Climate Change in Eight (8) districts of Mizoram

Department of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of Mizoram commissioned a vulnerability assessment of the forestry sector in the state. The overall goal of the project is to safeguard the forest and biodiversity sectors of Mizoram from the impacts of climate change. Carried out across eight districts of Mizoram, the vulnerability assessment identified and prioritised the most vulnerable zones in the state using an indicator-based approach. It also assessed the future vulnerability impacts across the districts. A combination of top down and bottom up approaches using IPCC and UNDP guidelines were used to develop a sector specific climate change resilience action plan for Mizoram. The findings were validated with stakeholders and officials from line departments and detailed interventions for vulnerability reduction were proposed. The interventions were designed such that they can be easily taken up in Mizoram’s forest and developmental plans, helping policy makers in prioritising climate smart adaptation actions.

Advancing Climate resilient tea production and sustained livelihoods for small tea growers with emphasis on women laborers in Assam and West Bengal

The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) engaged IORA to estimate GHG emissions in Small Tea Growers (STG) tea gardens. We supported in carrying out a Carbon Footprint Analysis of tea value chain in Small tea growers (STG) of Assam and West Bengal, and identified the relevant mitigation strategies for a low-carbon tea production system. Package of Practices (PoP) amongst small tea growers providing an estimation of emissions from the tea production process, was also mapped. We identified relevant mitigation strategies for a low carbon tea-production system giving due considerations to socio-economic parameters including gender roles. Our work contributes to India’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and highlights the need to develop financially viable, bankable, climate resilient & sustainable tea-cultivation business models.

Climate Resilient Forest Landscapes 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

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.

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.

PPP

Developing Sustainable Agriscapes for Future Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3

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.
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. In continuation to that, IORA is working towards the development of Sustainable Agriscapes in Ghod Basin in Maharashtra and Bhavani Basin in Tamil Nadu. Using our experience in Munger, we will delineate Agriscapes and suggest interventions in the current project areas. The work involves undertaking baseline surveys on ecological, biodiversity and ecosystem services of the landscape, spatial identification and removal of existing gaps and provision of suggestions on interventions supporting the rejuvenation and enhancement of ecosystem flows. The selected interventions will be geospatially designed with a unique identification code generated for piloting. These Agriscape Plans will further be validated through triangulation. Implementation for the project is expected to enhance biodiversity and flow of ecosystem services in the region. This will further enable food security and enhanced livelihoods for the project beneficiaries.

Business and Biodiversity: Estimations of Investment in India

IORA was engaged under the BIOFIN India programme to develop a baseline of biodiversity investments by 150 Indian private companies and identify potential partnership opportunities with Financial Institutions (FIs) to mobilize investments towards biodiversity in India. This initiative seeks to address the country’s biodiversity finance challenge by developing tools and methodological framework for measuring biodiversity expenditure. It was used to build a financial strategy for implementing India’s National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) and making progress towards achieving the National Biodiversity Targets (NBTs).

Survey of Agar-wood Market in India and Analyze its Investment Potential

Recognising the vast market potential of the Agarwood industry in India, Sumitomo Forestry commissioned IORA to conduct a detailed study and investigation of the Agarwood value chain within the national and international markets and related policy contexts. We assessed the Agarwood industry and allied investments across its value chain to come up with an overarching investment potential report on the industry. We identified the key market players involved directly in supply and demand of raw materials analysing their role and impact on the value chain. A product analysis was also carried out based on common parameters of pricing, demand-supply scenarios and transportation network. The team also reviewed the legal framework governing the raising and trading of Agarwood. Discussions were held with the office holders of All Sanchi (Agar) Growers Association of Assam (AASGA) to gauge the current status of market for Agar and opinions on the policy decisions under consideration by the government. The study aided in determining potential zones for Agarwood plantations across different states of India using spatial evaluation of climatic and geophysical parameters. The study also defined the total investment requirement of Agarwood industry in India and potential returns on investment analysis.

Business and Biodiversity: Estimations of Investment in India

IORA was engaged under the BIOFIN India programme to develop a baseline of biodiversity investments by 150 Indian private companies and identify potential partnership opportunities with Financial Institutions (FIs) to mobilize investments towards biodiversity in India. This initiative seeks to address the country’s biodiversity finance challenge by developing tools and methodological framework for measuring biodiversity expenditure. It was used to build a financial strategy for implementing India’s National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) and making progress towards achieving the National Biodiversity Targets (NBTs).

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.

FOREST CARBON FINANCE

India’s First REDD+ Manual for Practitioners

IORA, in association with IIFM and MoEFCC, designed a REDD+ manual, intended to serve as a quick-access guide for forestry practitioners and end users that brought considerable clarity on REDD+ concepts and issues. The manual also initiated actions for REDD+ readiness for India

India Specific REDD+ Methodology

IORA with GIZ India has developed a REDD+ARR Methodology as per Verified Carbon Standard. This methodology will be used for developing REDD+ projects in Indian landscapes facing mosaic deforestation and degradation. Various aspects including mapping of drivers and agents of forest change, development of baselines, quantification of emissions from pools, stakeholder engagements, and monitoring structure have been detailed in the methodology. It also helped project developers to bring down transaction costs while developing REDD+ projects efficiently.

REDD+ Reference Policy Document

IORA supported the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India to develop a REDD+ Reference policy document for India for 2014. IORA contributed to designing the institutional arrangement for REDD+ in India and assigned roles and responsibilities to MoEFCC, Forest Survey of India (FSI), Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), State Forest Department, Joint Forest Management (JFM) Committees, Panchayats and Gram Sabhas. IORA also designed governance and safeguard mechanisms to ensure that REDD+ implementation supports the rights of local communities and indigenous tribals along with biodiversity conservation in forests.
The complete document can be accessed here:
http://envfor.nic.in/sites/default/files/press-releases/Reference%20Document%20For%20REDD+%20in%20India.pdf

Estimation of Potential Value of Ecosystem Services and Development of REDD+ Project for Assam

IORA developed a pilot Jurisdictional REDD+ project in Assam with an aim to leverage additional national and international financing towards enabling successful integration of multiple sustainable forest management interventions with emphasis on income generation and livelihood security. It involves Land Use and Land Cover analyses to develop a REDD+ baseline, setting up an interdepartmental REDD+ Cell and a departmental REDD+ Task Force in the State. We developed a monitoring plan for the project and trained forest department personnel on REDD+ activities.

Fostering Community Forest Management in Nagaland

IORA collaborated with TERI, to develop a community-based forest conservation REDD+ project with emphasis on livelihood benefits from sustainable land use practices in the PKR (Phenstunyu Khenyupj Rumesinyu) Reserve in Nagaland. The project aimed to improve rural livelihood through sustainable management of forests, forest conservation, enhancement of forest carbon stock and production of long-term verifiable voluntary emission reductions by carbon sequestration. The interventions have resulted in reduced pressure on natural resources in the community forest land. IORA also studied potential markets for carbon and other ecosystems services to benefit Nagaland’s communities.

India’s First REDD+ Project in Garo Hills

IORA, in association with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (IISc), developed a community-based REDD+ project to address shifting cultivation trends in the Garo Hills, Meghalaya. This project focused on conserving stretches of high biodiversity forests which are elephant corridors as well. Activities implemented under this project include evaluation of services provided by forests and alignment of rural livelihood options. The project area covered a south-east to north-west trending corridor, extending from Balpakram National Park in South Garo Hills to Tura in West Garo Hills.

Feasibility study on Voluntary Carbon Markets for SSM in India

IORA carried out a study for GIZ India to identify opportunities for accessing Voluntary Carbon Markets (VCM) as an incentive for sustainable land management. The work entailed identification of activities with significant climate mitigation potential. The best-suited methodologies and standards across Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Gold Standard (GS) were mapped and assessed based on their applicability criteria.
The study focussed on outlining the key steps involved in developing an ‘Agriculture Land Management (ALM) Carbon Project’ that can provide real and measurable emission reduction under the current, widely utilized carbon standards. The study aims to provide streamlined guidance to help understand the trends, risks and challenges of voluntary carbon markets. It also estimates the climate mitigation potential for major ProSoil activities like Soil Organic Carbon, Agroforestry and Application of Urea and Nitrous Fertilizer. To optimise the interventions, output and viability, the study also mapped the convergence of all potential schemes, programmes, policies and actions related to ProSoil in India.

Partnership for Land Use Science (USAID Forest-PLUS) Programme

IORA was a key in-country partner of the Forest PLUS Program, a bilateral initiative of USAID and MoEFCC. 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), created a national Forest Carbon MRV system for India. We developed a state-of-the-art mobile application, M-Forest, for ease of collection of ground data by forest departments enabling transparent monitoring of carbon stock assessment and conservation of forest natural resources. IORA led the development of a national PPP and convergence framework for REDD+ in India as well as three REDD+ pilots. We 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.

FLR

Providing Assistance to Working Plan Officer of Tripura Forest Department for Preparation of Working Plan of 8 Districts, as per National Working Plan Code 2014

We were hired by the Tripura Forest Department to develop forest working plans for the state, using innovative technology and approaches in consonance with the National Working Plan Code (NWPC) 2014. Utilising a strong prior experience in applying modern tools for forestry assessment, planning, and management, our team is supporting scientific management of Tripura’s working plans whilst ensuring mainstreaming of best practices for future working plan exercises. This will further help the Tripura Forest Department to identify and collect relevant data for accessing upcoming national and international instruments like REDD+, NAMAs, INDC financing and GIM. We are also involved in conducting GIS training sessions for forestry personnel to enable the dissemination of knowledge and modern techniques of forest resource assessment, which will aid in strengthening the forest inventory and management skills of forest officials.

Preparation of Forest Landscape Restoration report based on IUCN’s “Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM)” in targeted Indian states

IORA is contributing towards India’s Land Degradation Neutrality Goal and Bonn Challenge Commitments under the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) Project implemented by IUCN in partnership with National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board (NAEB) and Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC). The project is supporting land restoration opportunities across five states- Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Nagaland. Our work involves identification of drivers of degradation across selected pilot locations in each state and mapping of potential restoration opportunities using the ROAM Methodology. The project findings are constantly validated through stakeholder engagement to gain insights on the current state of play, identifying challenges and potential measures to address degradation in the landscape. The end goal is to recommend suitable FLR interventions, including cost-benefit analysis for each restoration activity and report on carbon analysis for different types of FLR interventions.

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 aims to 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. IORA prepared the Integrated Landscape Level Management Strategy and Plans for Ladakh and Sikkim landscapes. We mapped the landuse, vegetation cover and biodiversity in the areas adjoining Protected Areas (PA) of Gya – Meru and Rong in Sikkim, and Tsomoriri and Tso Kar lake basins in Ladakh. The team undertook multiple stakeholder consultations with line departments, NGOs and local communities to identify major issues faced by the people and devise mitigation strategies. We defined the landscape boundaries in terms of physical boundaries, biodiversity values, land use land cover and socio-economic profiles of the local communities.

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.

Forest-PLUS: forest for water and prosperity (Forest-PLUS 2.0)

Forest-PLUS 2.0 aims to improve management of targeted forest landscapes in India supporting enhancement of ecosystem services and increase in inclusive economic opportunities for forest dependent communities. The program was implemented across three forest divisions- Gaya (Bihar), Medak (Telangana) and Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala). IORA provided technical expertise to MoEFCC and State Forest Departments in improving management of forest landscapes. We contributed towards forest landscape planning, management and monitoring and development of Forest Working Plans. IORA finalised the development of two decision support systems (DSS), one each for forestry and non-forestry use. Our contribution also included the development of Van 3.0, an integrated system for collection of forest inventory and ecosystem data (mobile app), and automation of data storage and analysis (web portal) for Working Plan preparation for each selected state, using NWPC 2014. In conjunction with these, work was cemented on the development of Landscape Management Plans (LMP) and Incentive Based Mechanisms (IBMs) for the three landscapes. We also provided direction for inclusion of gender aspects across all project activities and tools.

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