The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), in collaboration with Sustainability East Asia (SEA), is in the process of completing the two-year Pilot Core Biodiversity Monitoring Project (CBMP) and has developed monitoring protocols for the full range of critical biodiversity features identified in the Biodiversity Action Plan and Offset Strategy for Oyu Tolgoi (OT).
OT is committed to having a Net Positive Impact (NPI) on biodiversity, in which the gains generated by offsets are greater than the residual losses of project impacts. As a result, this project will follow the mitigation hierarchy, whereby the project avoids and minimises impacts, undertakes rehabilitation efforts to further reduce impacts and then finally offsets the residual impacts.
The WCS and SEA team have already developed, and tested methodologies for monitoring all of the critical biodiversity features. The proposed biodiversity features include: Asiatic wild ass; Argali sheep; Goitered gazelle; Houbara bustard; Short-toed snake-eagle; 18 'very rare' plants; Granite outcrop floral communities; Riverine elms; Tall saxaul forest; Ephemeral lakes and pools; and Rangeland habitat.
We recognize that development and implementation of the full CBMP will continue to fill gaps in biodiversity baseline information and establish a baseline of understanding in regard to the magnitude of impacts from OT’s various projects (positive and negative) on biodiversity in the region and of natural variation in biodiversity features. We also hope that our implemented program of work will enable OT to meet its commitment to attain NPI on the biodiversity of the southern Gobi region.