The role quarries play in creating habitat and promoting biodiversity is becoming better understood thanks to successful partnerships like BirdLife International and Heidelberg Materials – one of the world’s largest manufacturers of building materials. Since 2012, the partnership has been based on shared values of promoting and protecting biodiversity while using natural resources sustainably. Heidelberg Materials aims to contribute to global biodiversity through better management of quarry operations and their nature restoration planning and programmes.
These aims form part of the groups’ 2030 Sustainability Commitments. In support of this, BirdLife has been assisting in developing the strategy to meet the biodiversity related goals which include providing best practice guidelines, training and conducting global studies to help determine the impacts and status of the operations on biodiversity.
If carefully designed, it has been proven that mineral extraction operations can reduce their impacts on landscapes and biodiversity while simultaneously creating opportunities for unique habitats and rare species to flourish. Together with local BirdLife partners, the Heidelberg Materials group of companies are globally implementing local biodiversity projects – resulting in the perfect combination of global commitment with local action.
Initiatives like The Quarry Life Award, an international research competition, combine social community dynamics and sciences to promote and educate people about biodiversity in quarries. Thanks to mining sites having low human disturbances, they provide a great variety of landscapes and habitats that often favour many pioneering species. Often their populations are threatened outside of quarries due to the lack of habitat and other forms of land use.
The unique array and confinement of habitats sometimes promote incomparable local flora and fauna diversity. Heidelberg Materials, through the Quarry Life Award and its projects, aims to raise the knowledge of the biological value of mining sites and contribute to further enhancing them. Over the years projects entered into the competition have made valuable contributions to scientific research on habitat creation within quarries and led to the development of management guidelines for many threatened species.
2020 has been a year like no other. Spring Alive, our children’s education programme, had to make a lot of changes – but thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of our Partners, teachers and volunteers, we’ve still succeeded in inspiring and educating young minds. Here, we showcase just a few examples.
In a recent study 117 bird species, six of which are endemic to the subcontinent, were recorded in four HeidelbergCement quarries in India. The scientific field survey that was conducted in the first week of January 2020 was spearheaded by Birdlife International along with local partner the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
With summer unfolding as we’d expect, with buds maturing and timid flowers awakening, how exciting to hear the sounds of returning migratory birds signalling the magnificent cycles of nature and season that anchor us all. And yet, all is not well, not as it should be. At HeidelbergCement, like the entire planet, in the communities in which we work and live, all are touched by the incessant and unforgiving progress of the Coronavirus and its attendant disease COVID‑19.
Last Tuesday, the European Parliament gave its final approval of the EU Nature restoration law during its monthly plenary session in Strasbourg and a collective sigh of relief passed through our office. This groundbreaking law still requires a final rubber stamping from the national governments in the European Council. It would mark a world-first: a comprehensive attempt to rebuild damaged ecosystems to bring back biodiversity and help combating the impacts of climate change.
As the number of the partnership’s annual biodiversity projects grow, you can track the exciting progress by clicking on the Heidelberg Materials-BirdLife Project Map below.
It provides a visual narrative of the diversity and distribution of our projects to date, which aim to improve the biodiversity in and around our extractive sites by working together with local communities, environmental authorities and scientists. Each project is pin-pointed geographically on an interactive map and you’ll find short summaries detailing the activities.
For further reading, a downloadable Project Fact Sheet accompanies each project. The projects range from conservation initiatives for select species and habitats, through to community involvement, and land management. This diversity highlights the success of the partnership in benefiting both people and the planet.
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