Project Start Date: 01.03.2015
Project End Date: – 15.12.2015
The surroundings of Saskhori quarry site offer a diversity of habitat types, ranging from riverine forest, cliffs sides and pastures to steppe areas. This is reflected in an exceptionally rich bird community, with several rare and globally threatened species breeding nearby. Part of the region has been designated as an (Important Bird Area). IBA’s are the sites needed to ensure the survival of viable populations of most of the world’s bird species and other biodiversity. The quarries and clay pit operated by HeidelbergCement play a vital role in the conservation of biodiversity in this landscape. They offer specific habitat types which are readily used by birds, such as small pools, sandy edges and rocky slopes. After termination of the extraction activities and rehabilitation, former quarries continue to provide important structural elements to the landscape and offer a refuge from disturbance. However, in contrast to other aspects of the biodiversity of the area, birds have received relatively little attention, and the available information is anecdotal. The aim of the current proposal is to address this lack of data, and to provide a baseline survey of birds in the area which can be used to develop further projects in the framework of the cooperation between HeidelbergCement and BirdLife International. Because of the large home ranges of many species and their potential to disperse from the surrounding areas into the quarries the survey needs to encompass not only the quarries and their immediate vicinity but also the wider landscape, up to ca. 10km from the quarries.
Moreover, this proposal contains a number of activities aimed at involving local residents and HeidelbergCement staff in the collection of this information, and at dissemination of the obtained results. These activities should lead to a better understanding among the population and HC of the role HeidelbergCement, as a green company, plays in maintaining biodiversity.