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Engaging local communities in biodiversity research

To preserve Papua New Guinea’s unique biodiversity, ExxonMobil PNG implements biodiversity management and monitoring programs.

The New Guinea Binatang Research Centre is working with ExxonMobil PNG to engage local communities and to encourage landowner participation in the regeneration monitoring and Biodiversity Surveys.

Our approach to ecological surveys and research has always relied heavily on collaboration with local communities, recruiting local assistants for a range of activities – from simple guidance in the field to more advanced tasks of monitoring and data collection in the field.

Dr. Voitech Novotny, Director, New Guinea Binatang Research Centre

“Some of the locally recruited assistants are given an opportunity to participate in the Centre’s training and, based on performance, become appointed as Centre staff and/or continue in further studies,” said Dr. Novotny.

The Centre conducted the first regeneration monitoring survey during June and July 2015. Biological information was gathered from more than 60 regeneration monitoring plots, covering both regenerating areas and undisturbed habitat types. Monitoring of the undisturbed plots includes identification of all trees with a diameter of greater than 5 centimetres to understand vegetation change as a result of environmental conditions, as well as enabling analysis of vegetation change due to natural conditions, such as pest infestations.

ExxonMobil PNG engages local communities in biodiversity researdh

Post-project monitoring indicated that the ecological health of impacted habitats had improved since construction of the PNG LNG facilities was completed. Biodiversity survey results in designated biodiversity assessment areas exhibited high biodiversity values, including the discovery of entirely new species of plants and frogs.

ExxonMobil PNG remains committed to its Biodiversity Strategy supporting some 180 Papua New Guinean conservation representatives to attend Communicating Conservation Practice in Papua New Guinea workshops between 2015 and 2017.

The workshop provided updates on the status of activities pertaining to the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and covered topics such as the protection of endemic species, the trade of endemic and other endangered species.

In 2017, D’Appolonia S.p.A. the Independent Environmental and Social Consultant, commended ExxonMobil PNG on their biodiversity offset rationale efforts in their Environmental and Social Compliance Monitoring report.