Europe and Central Asia
12 Dec 2016

The Quarry Life Award 2016: HeidelbergCement honours international projects that promote biodiversity

The Quarry Life Award 2016
By Boris Barov

On 8 December, the winners of the International Quarry Life Award were presented in the BEL Conference Centre in Brussels, one of the largest passive buildings in Europe today. The Quarry Life Award is a bi-annual competition launched by HeidelbergCement in 2011. It aims to explore innovative ideas to promote biodiversity at quarry sites and calls on students, graduate students or researchers (individually or in groups) to boost biodiversity in quarries and pits.

In his opening speech, Dr Bernd Scheifele, Chairman of the Managing Board of HeidelbergCement, emphasized the importance of the competition to the company: “The protection of species diversity and the sustainable extraction of raw materials are fundamental pillars of our sustainability strategy. Through the Quarry Life Award, we promote new knowledge about biodiversity in our quarries as well as innovative, practical conservation concepts. The projects and research results do not only serve ourselves alone. We seek to cooperate with various stakeholders from the spheres of education, science and conservation to increase awareness of the biological value of quarrying sites.”

Patricia Zurita, CEO of BirdLife International, speaking at the ceremony, emphasized the importance of partnerships for nature & biodiversity. BirdLife International has been a conservation partner of HeidelbergCement since 2011. The partnership is based on shared values of sustainably using natural resources while promoting thriving biodiversity. Together with local BirdLife partners, HeidelbergCement companies implement local biodiversity projects in many countries, the result is the perfect combination of global commitment with local action.

Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director-General for Environment at the European Commission, also underlined the importance of cooperation between industry, conservation organizations and civil society to help promote species diversity as part of environmental protection.    

More than 450 proposals from 21 countries were submitted in this 3rd edition of the competition, of which 94 were selected for the competition in different categories: Habitat and species research, Biodiversity management, Education and raising awareness, Beyond quarry borders and Student project.   

The international jury, composed of Dr Carolyn Jewell (HeidelbergCement), Dr Erasmus Owusu (University of Ghana), Dr Ani Mardiastuti (Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia), Dr Michael Rademacher (University of Applied Sciences Bingen, Germany), Richard Grimmett (BirdLife International), Dr Ulrich Tränkle (AGLN, Landscape Planning & Nature Conservation Management) and Daniel Gauthier (former member of the HeidelbergCement Managing Board), presented the Quarry Life Award 2016 on the following projects:

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Grand Prize (30,000 €):

Linking quarries and surroundings by restoration ecology for semi-aquatic mammals

The Grand Prize was awarded to a Spanish team led by Dr Rocío de Torre Ceijas. The project investigated the ecological connectivity of waterbodies in gravel quarries, and how to enhance this connectivity to the quarry’s surroundings for a positive effect on biodiversity. The researchers used otters as a bio-indicator because of their habitat needs.

International prizes by category (10,000 €):

Habitat & species research

Arthropod & earthworm diversity as a bio-indicator for reclamation success

Around the world, reclamation success is often solely measured on the growth of planted vegetation -  which does not give a full picture. To improve this, a project team in Indonesia investigated the use of arthropods and earthworms as bio-indicators of habitat complexity to evaluate the success of woodland creation activities in the Hambalang quarry. Project leader: Wahyudi Nelvianto, Indonesia

Student project

Nature only works if we do it together – Students “understand” insects and biodiversity

This community project saw a group of pupils from Evangelische Grundschule Holzdorf learning about wild bees and their role in the ecosystem. Through the project, they built a bee hotel, tended a wildflower meadow and developed an information board about bees with the help of recovering addicts from HEPORÖ GmbH. Project leader: Elisabeth von Campenhausen, Germany

Biodiversity Management

Optimizing wetland functions to local conditions in connection to quarries

At the Cementa Degerhamn limestone quarry, this project analysed the effectiveness of an artificial pond and adjacent wetland at retaining water and nutrients from water pumped out of the quarry back into the alvar landscape. Based on their studies, the team made recommendations for developing a multifunctional wetland focusing on nutrient retention and the resultant positive effect on biodiversity. Project leader: Emma Svahn, Northern Europe

Education and Raising Awareness

Biodiversity in space and time

This project had a two-pronged approach: first, to assess the habitats and biodiversity of the Pechurki quarry; second, to attract public attention and raise awareness of biodiversity conservation activities. To achieve this, the team delivered more than 70 eco-lessons, performed quarry tours, attended conferences, engaged with the media, created an animated video and even organized their own essay and photographic competitions. Project leader: Yanina Dmitrakova, Russia

Beyond quarry borders

Stepping ponds - enhancement of connectivity for amphibians in riverside gravel pits

This project evaluated the potential of gravel pits to improve and increase landscape connectivity for amphibians, one of the most globally threatened taxa due to diminished habitats. The team made recommendations on creating corridors to connect water bodies; how to inhibit the spread of the invasive exotic red swamp crayfish and advice to foster the natterjack toad population.  Project leader: Daniel Gómez de Zamora Martínez, Spain


For more information about the Quarry Life Award 2016 visit 

To read more about BirdLife International’s partnership with HeidelbergCement visit the BirdLife International – HeidelbergCement Partnership Project Map

Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.