Tullow has commissioned an independent, landscape-scale biodiversity baseline study of EA2 and adjacent areas.
Several nationally protected areas lie within or in close proximity to EA2, including Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest and second-most visited park. Tullow is committed to undertaking its Ugandan development in line with the IFC’s Performance Standards (PS) on Environmental and Social Sustainability, which require a net gain in biodiversity when operating in such areas.
In preparation for the ESIA that will be undertaken in relation to the proposed Uganda development, Tullow has commissioned an independent, landscape-scale biodiversity baseline study of EA2 and adjacent areas. The first, desk-based phase of the study has provided an overview of the important species and habitats present in the area, as well as an initial appraisal of the distribution of modified, natural and potentially critical habitats, as defined by the IFC PS.
The study included a comparative analysis, using satellite imagery, of land use and habitat changes between 2002 and 2012. The analysis revealed how remaining natural habitats are under pressure from increasing population, as grasslands are converted to agriculture and forests are cut down to provide fuel and building materials. Ecosystem services are fundamental to livelihoods in the region, and it is recognised that they will be important to the viability of the development as well.
The second phase of the biodiversity baseline study will be based largely on field surveys, and will aim to confirm and refine the findings of the desk-study. In turn, this will inform the development ESIA in terms of the detailed evaluation of the development project’s potential impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and formulation of the measures necessary to avoid or mitigate those impacts.